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Statement on Autumn opening of education settings

2 July 2020 (updated on 2 July 2020)

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The Education Secretary today updated the House on the full opening of schools and colleges to all pupils in September.

The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson told the House that "education recovery is critical for this generation of school children."

Gavin Williamson: "Today the Government has published detailed plans."

The Education Secretary told that House that returning to normal education settings as quickly as possible is critical to the country's national recovery, which is why the Government is working towards ensuring that all pupils will be able to go back to school and colleges full time in September with covid secure measures in place.

He said:

"Today the Government has published detailed plans for nurseries, schools and colleges that set out what is needed to plan for a full return, as well as reassuring parents and careers about what to expect for their children."

Mr Williamson added that schools will continue to minimise contact between children, including through grouping children together in "bubbles". He told the House that "at a minimum this will mean keeping whole year groups in schools and colleges separate."

Speaking about the school curriculum, the Education Secretary said:

"From September we are asking schools and colleges to return to a broad and balanced curriculum, so that all pupils continue to be taught in a wider range of subjects maintaining their choices for further study and employment. We expect exams to go ahead in the summer of 2021."

Kate Green: "Children will have experienced nearly a six month gap in their education."

Replying on behalf of the Opposition, Shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green began by saying "every child must be safely back in school by September. By then many children will have experienced nearly a six month gap in their education."

She added that there has been a "huge gap in learning" for the most disadvantaged.

She said:

“Today's announcement finally recognises the desperate pleas of Heads, staff and governors for information and certainty about plans for the next academic year.”

The Shadow Secretary added: "The announcement today comes just three weeks before the end of term, and an immense amount needs to be done to prepare."

Ms Green went on to question the Education Secretary about what consultation has been undertaken with Head teachers and unions in preparing guidance, as well as guaranteeing full access to testing and tracing for every school.

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