From assuring parents that schools are safe to cancelling this summer’s GCSE and A-level exams, the government’s position on schools escalated rapidly once again yesterday as the severity of their U-turn becomes clear.
After allowing many children back to school on Monday, by Tuesday night exams regulator Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) had announced their decision to scrap exams, instead looking at different ways to grade pupils given the current circumstances.
Today education secretary Gavin Williamson will outline to MPs on Wednesday a package of support for young people following the announcement that schools and colleges will close to all but vulnerable children and those of key workers.
Ahead of the statement in the Commons, the DfE said it recognises this is “an anxious time for students who have been working hard towards their exams”.
It added: “The government position is that we will not be asking students to sit GCSE and A-levels.
“Working alongside Ofqual, the department will consult on how to award all pupils a grade that reflects the hard work they’ve done and will continue to do.”
In a televised address on Monday announcing England’s third national lockdown, Boris Johnson acknowledged that shutting schools meant “it’s not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer, as normal”.
In a statement, Mr Williamson said: “It is now vital that we support our young people at home, including making sure all students are receiving the best possible remote education, and that those students who were due to take exams can still progress to their next stage of education or training.”
The BBC’s Ros Atkins has documented their spectacular flip-flopping over the last few days and weeks. Watch his summery below: