Exam Chief Quits To Save Williamson

Ofqual chief Sally Collier

Sally Collier, the head of England’s exams regulator has been under severe criticism after the grading debacle and for a controversial algorithm which changed GCSE and A-level marks…reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

After the UK’s grading debacle in which thousands of students’ marks were downgraded for the exams they were unable to attend, the head of England’s exams regulator, Sally Collier, has quit from the post.

The BBC reported that Ofqual chief Ms Collier has been under fire for a controversial algorithm which changed GCSE and A-level marks, making them unfair, according to heads.

The issue also led to many A-level students losing university places they had been offered, and a crunch on degree places. Meanwhile, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson thanked her for her commitment.

The BBC report quoted him: “Moving forward, my department will continue to work closely with Ofqual’s leadership to deliver fair results and exams for young people.”

Earlier, Ofqual chair Roger Taylor and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson apologised for the “distress” caused.

Ofqual chief Sally Collier

In a statement, he acknowledged the “extraordinarily difficult” year for students, after exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Face masks in schools

The school authorities, especially the head teachers reportedly want an urgent review of advice over face coverings in school.

According to BBC reports, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, depending on the medical advice, “if we need to change the advice then of course we will”.

In England, despite the official recommendations against using face coverings, some schools are already expecting pupils and staff to wear them.

Boris Johnson said that it was “vitally important” for children to return to classrooms, with the life chances of a generation at stake.

19/04/2020. London, United Kingdom. Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson holds the Daily Covid-19 Press Conference with Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street.

Separate guidance for reopening schools has been published for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the BBC reported.

In Scotland, schools have already reopened, while some students in Northern Ireland will return to school on Monday.

In England and Wales, in-person classes are set to begin in September.

In a statement released on Sunday evening, Johnson thanked school staff for spending the summer “making classrooms Covid-secure”.

“I have previously spoken about the moral duty to reopen schools to all pupils safely,” he said.

“We have always been guided by our scientific and medical experts, and we now know far more about coronavirus than we did earlier this year.”

Echoing England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty remarks, Johnson said that “the risk of contracting Covid-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and wellbeing to be away from school any longer”.

“This is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends.

“Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school,” the BBC quoted Johnson as saying in the statement.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Whitty said that children were more likely to be harmed by not returning to school next month than if they caught coronavirus.

He cited evidence of children “much less commonly” needing hospital treatment or becoming severely ill with coronavirus than adults.

According to the Office for National Statistics’ latest data on ages, there were 10 deaths recorded as “due to Covid-19” among those aged 19 and under in England and Wales between March and June – and 46,725 deaths among those aged 20 and over.

Of the more than one million children who attended pre-school and primary schools in England in June, 70 children and 128 staff were infected in outbreaks of the virus, according to a Public Health England study published on Sunday.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson wrote in the Sunday Times that he wanted to reassure every parent and pupil schools were “ready for them”, and the autumn return to schools was “more important than ever”.

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