COVID-19 Make School Emergency Response Plans “Unforgivable” “Rejection”: Report

The government’s “refusal” to develop emergency response plans for schools and exams in the summer of 2020 is the “most unforgivable aspect” of the treatment of education in the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report said. Suggests.

Lessons from school closures and exams from the first blockade were “unlearned” and led to cases of “pause, rewind, repeat”, a paper by the Institute for Government (IfG) found. did.

Prior to this month’s A-level and GCSE results, a report entitled “Schools and Coronavirus: The Treatment of Government Education During a Pandemic” was published by the Prime Minister during the post-closure period of British schools in March 2020. Is described as “easy”. It was the most devastating period in children’s education, at least since the beginning of World War II. “

“The most important conclusion is that the most unforgivable aspect of what happened was not only that we did not plan for an emergency response in the summer of 2020, but that we refused to do so. It is necessary and its testing. May need to be canceled again.

“Since no lessons were learned from the initial blockade, the story from July 2020 to January 2021 was a case of” pause, rewind, repeat “in both school closures and exams. “

In addition, he adds: From time to time, I felt that the school system was confused. “

“The first very quick decision was made on the definition of the main workers a child can attend school,” the report said. “The supply of laptops for distance learning is probably inevitable. It was slower than everyone wanted, “he added.

However, special attention is paid to the “highly centralized approach” dealing with 24,000 schools and the “tension between No. 10 and DfE” (Ministry of Education).

Secretary of Education Gavin Williamson added, “It seems that he was not directly involved in any of the major meetings prior to the initial decision to close the school in March 2020.”

“We refused to trust the local government and were unable to effectively engage in a way that allowed the local government and its director of public health to respond more subtly and better,” the report added. I am.

“Terrifying communication. Repeated declarations that schools will open or close, or exams will be held, but despite obvious uncertainties, continued until reality struck. As a result, after the U-turn. U-turns occurred, leaving students, parents and teachers confused and confused many times. “

The report contains claims from tenth sources regarding Boris Johnson’s approach to emergency response planning.

It states: “A tenth source said the’clear steering’ received by the authorities from the Prime Minister was not to develop an emergency response plan. The school was scheduled to reopen. The exam will be held.

“The view was that if you were prepared to prevent these things from happening, it would be much more likely that the results wouldn’t happen … people look for an easy way to do it.”

“According to this insider, the prime minister’s default is bluffing. Speaking things to the extent that it is caused by the power of his own personality, a very powerful tool. But the virus does not hear those messages.”

Nikolas Timins, Senior Fellow of IfG and author of the report, said:

“Some early decisions in England were successful. Some took longer than everyone wanted to implement, but with lasting benefits.

“But students, parents and teachers faced” pause, rewind, repeat “cases, especially beyond the exam, because they were unable to develop an emergency response plan in the summer and fall of 2020. did. “

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said: In October 2020.

“We acted swiftly in all situations to minimize the impact on children’s education and well-being and to ensure that students receive face-to-face education as much as possible.

“We provide underprivileged students with 1.3 million laptops and tablets, fund the Oak National Academy to provide video lessons, and exams that help students take the next step in education and work. I made sure that I could receive my grades. “

Elizabeth Arnold