GCSE results: Why Boris Johnson must sack Gavin Williamson – The Yorkshire Post says

OUR admiration for young people – and the positive contribution that they will make to the future of this country – is reaffirmed by record-breaking GCSE results.

Just like the equally meritorious A-level grades, they illustrate the resilience of the next generation and their resolve not to allow Covid to stymie their learning and prospects.

And these results – together with those accrued by college students – have been achieved in spite of the Department for Education being left at the mercy of an abject Cabinet Minister bereft of the skills required for such a pivotal post.

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Today The Yorkshire Post reiterates its call, first made on January 5 when schools reopened for one day before being shut, for Gavin Williamson to resign, or failing that, to be sacked by Boris Johnson.

This was Gavin Williamson and Boris Johnson during a visit to Japan when both men were senior members of Theresa May's then government.

As this newspaper ventured at the time, anything less will “be another betrayal of a generation of children, and teachers, let down by the most incompetent, ineffectual and inept Education Secretary in living memory”.

And while such decisions are never taken lightly because we, like our readers, are mindful of the pressures facing all public servants, Mr Williamson is a notable exception despite his Scarborough roots.

Boris Johnson and Gavin Williamson during a joint school visit just prior to the Covid pandemic.

He has done nothing in the subsequent seven months to convince us that he’s the right man to tackle many of the inequalities in learning that were endemic here prior to the pandemic, even cancelling an interview with this newspaper during a recent visit to Bradford.

Quite the opposite. He has presided over one policy shambles after another, each causing unnecessary angst, and he will never regain sufficient trust.

the Yorkshire Post has reiterated its call, first made in january, for Gavin Williamson to be replaced as Education Secretary.

Yet, given his aloofness as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joins calls for the Education Secretary to step aside, the Prime Minister should belatedly act.

Education is, frankly, too important to the country’s future success – and also the Government’s own levelling up agenda – for Mr Williamson to remain in post until a rumoured Cabinet reshuffle, whether it be next week, month or year.

Every day that this is allowed to happen is another day – and opportunity – squandered when it actually comes to formulating the return to school protocols, clarifying the rules of engagement for the 2022 exams, developing a coherent catch-up policy for all those children who have fallen behind with their learning and restoring morale amongst teachers.

And if Mr Johnson does not appreciate the seriousness of this – there are reports that he’s afraid to sack Mr Williamson because of potential acts of revenge by the former chief whip – then families will have even more reason to question the Prime Minister’s sincerity over levelling up and desire to close the attainment gap.

As schools, colleges and universities prepare for the 2021-22 academic year, now is the opportune time for the PM to appoint a dynamic Education Secretary who can lead and inspire in equal measure.

By next month, it will be too late – and the Prime Minister should not expect the public to either forgive, or forget, if he continues to come down on the side of incompetence. Your call, Mr Johnson.

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