Education Return and Awarding Qualifications in 2021 - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:44 pm on 1st March 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Fox of Buckley Baroness Fox of Buckley Non-affiliated 2:44 pm, 1st March 2021

Can the noble Baroness explain on what evidence the Government made the extraordinary decision to mandate that secondary pupils mask up in the classroom, especially as in August, the Prime Minister described such a policy as “clearly nonsensical”? As this means that children as young as 11 will spend the majority of their waking hours wearing a mask, can the noble Baroness tell us whether any research has been done on the health, educational or social costs of children wearing masks for such an extended period? Finally, can the noble Baroness allay the concern of teachers that wearing face masks in the classroom is not the return of face-to-face teaching, because they are antithetical to classroom engagement? How can the teacher read the room, see who is struggling and see who has understood? That would seem even more important as the Government are now advocating teacher-led assessment, but teachers cannot see whom they are assessing.