This spares Education Secretary Gavin Williamson from a humiliating Commons inquistion about such a threadbare announcement that barely equates to £50 per pupil for extra tutoring when schools are supposed to be the cornerstone of the Government’s much-vaunted levelling-up policy.
And, more alarmingly, it is bereft of the ambition – and vision – advocated by former headteacher Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner.
Why appoint an individual of Sir Kevan’s standing – he’s clearly far more qualified and talented than Mr Williamson – and then ignore their expertise? His resignation last night, which had become an inevitability since another embarrassing round of media interviews by the Education Secretary, can, in all seriousness, only be for one of the following three reasons.
First, the Government is in denial about the impact of the Covid pandemic on the education – and prospects – of a generation of children who, let it be remembered, are this country’s future.
Second, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is unsympathetic to the plight of schools in spite of telling The Yorkshire Post last summer that education was his motivation to enter politics.
Or, alternatively, Mr Williamson made such a poor case to the Cabinet – Sir Kevan’s blueprint is said to cost 10 times more than the £1.4bn being grudgingly made available – that his already tenuous position as Education Secretary is even more untenable.
Either way, teachers and pupils deserve better than this. They should already know what extra resources will be at their disposal rather than having to wait for the Chancellor’s spending review for any further announcements.
By then, there should be a dynamic new Education Secretary in post – provided, of course, that the PM acts after Mr Williamson scored yet another Grade F for failure on his own report.
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