Exams and Accountability 2021

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:34 am on 3rd December 2020.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Education 10:34 am, 3rd December 2020

I know that you always love Secretaries of State to look adoringly at you, Mr Speaker. I have been dutifully rebuked.

The Labour party has never championed pupils, because it has not fought to get students back into schools. It was actually the Mayor of Greater Manchester who wanted to send children out of school and back home. But the Conservative party stands for getting children back into school.

The shadow Secretary of State highlighted a number of issues. It is disappointing that the official Opposition have not engaged in a positive debate. They could not even be bothered to respond to the Ofqual consultation about exams. They seem to have missed the opportunity. Maybe it got lost in the post—or maybe, quite simply, they just could not be bothered. We do recognise that there are significant challenges in delivering education at this time, which is why we have put together a package of truly unprecedented measures to assist schools, teachers, and, most importantly, pupils themselves.

I am sure that the hon. Lady would grudgingly acknowledge that all academic studies have continuously highlighted that children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, including children from black and ethnic minority communities, are the ones who always outperform predicted grades when they sit exams.