Robert Halfon questions Education Secretary over school pupil absences

News / Tue 24th Nov 2020 at 12:13pm

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon rose on the floor of the House of Commons to ask a question regarding pupil absences.

Mr Halfon said: “Last week, The Sunday Times reported that a record 600,000 children were absent from class due to covid-related reasons.

We know that around the country sending pupils home has, sadly, become more commonplace. It is right that exams in some form or another take place next year, but will my right hon. Friend set out the measures he is taking to ensure there is an absolute level playing field for those left behind during the coronavirus outbreak, as well as those who are sent home to self-isolate, so they have as fair a chance as possible in their exams as every other pupil?

Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson replied

“What all the evidence points to is that exams are the best and fairest way to ensure that children, especially children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, get the best possible grades.

What is so important is that we deliver fairness for all youngsters right across the board. We have already announced a package of measures to push back the date when exams will take place, so people can catch up on lost learning.

“We have also announced a £1 billion package to support schools to deliver extra assistance for those youngsters. We will announce further measures to ensure absolute fairness in our exam system, so that young people have the best opportunity to prove themselves when they have the opportunity to take their exams”.

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