Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson was questioned by the Education Select Committee yesterday.
Education Select Committee Chair, Robert Halfon asked the Secretary of State whether he believed Ofqual ‘got it wrong’ with regards to their approach of grade calculation.
The Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson responded that the fundamental policy of calculated, moderated grades was the right approach but too many inconsistencies in the process led to a lack of public confidence. He noted that all parts of the UK reached the same policy. When asked about the resignation of both Chief Regulator, Sally Collier and Department for Education Permanent Secretary, Jonathan Slater, the Secretary of State said that those decisions were not focus of the department. He added that he was confident that at every stage, the advice provided to him was concerned with fairness.
Tom Hunt MP(Con, Ipswich) asked about the proposed SEND review and whether there was a planned date of publication.
The Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson outlined that he did not want to pre-empt the report although he recognised concerns regarding disparities in SEND provision across the UK. He stated that he was disappointed that the review would be ready later than anticipated. When pressed for a definitive date for publication, the Secretary of State responded it would be ready in the early part of next year. He explained that the delay in publication was in part due to a lack of capacity in the Department as a result of the pandemic, but work was ongoing on to have it ready as soon as possible. He added that it was important to work with the Department for Health on these issues and encouraged increased collaboration between the Departments.
Tom Hunt MP (Con, Ipswich) added that one benefit of the delay to the report is that it provides an opportunity to review how COVID has impacted SEND pupils.