UK Education Minister Apologises For Swearing On Camera

Addressing MPs, she said “absolutely nothing is more important than the safety of children or staff” – but that the “vast majority of schools are unaffected”…reports Asian Lite News

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has apologised for her “choice language” after she was caught complaining about not being thanked for doing a “f****** good job” over the unsafe concrete crisis.

After an interview with ITV News in Westminster, the cabinet minister criticised others for being “sat on their arses” and claimed the government had gone “over and above” in addressing concerns relating to reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

While her mic was still on, she said: “Does anyone ever say ‘You know you’ve done a f****** good job because everyone else has sat on their arses and done nothing. “No signs of that, no?”

Keegan later apologised and admitted she was “frustrated with the interviewer” who was “making out it was all my fault”. Thousands of pupils face disruption at the start of term this week following an order to fully or partially close 104 schools because of concerns about RAAC, which is prone to collapse.

Pupils face being taught in temporary classrooms, on different sites, or even forced into pandemic-style remote lessons. Critics have accused the Tories of a “shambolic” handling of the situation, saying risks associated with the dangerous material have been known about for years.

Asked repeatedly who she meant had been “sat on their arses”, Keegan insisted it was “nobody in particular”. She said: “It was an off-the-cuff remark, after the news interview had finished. I’d like to apologise for my choice language, that was unnecessary.”

Pressed on who she was frustrated with, Keegan said: “Actually, it was the interviewer, because the interviewer was making out it was all my fault and that’s what I was saying, do you ever go into these interviews where anyone ever says anything but you’ve just done a terrible job?”

She said it is “frustrating” because she and her team have been working hard to deal with the issue of unsafe concrete, and she hasn’t slept due to “worrying about this”. Keegan also indicated she was frustrated with those who have not responded to questionnaires asking about whether schools have the dangerous aerated concrete present.

“What I would like to say is please Gillian, come and see my school, come and really understand what RAAC looks like, what RAAC is in a school, what happens when you close a school … but just come and see what your serving headteachers are doing in order to maintain a good education. I am horrified by that clip, and I think that something needs to happen for somebody to say that because I worked from the moment we got the notice of closure. I worked every weekend, late into the night in order to make things work.”

Evans added her staff have also worked hard since having the closure notice, and said: “Nobody is sat on their backside.” In a statement in the House of Commons this afternoon, Ms Keegan promised to publish the full list of affected schools “this week” as she sought to stress that disruption would be minimal.

Addressing MPs, she said “absolutely nothing is more important than the safety of children or staff” – but that the “vast majority of schools are unaffected”.

Keegan added that schools with suspected dangerous concrete will be surveyed in “a matter of weeks” and “in many cases, a few days”.

In response, Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson accused Ms Keegan of presiding over an “utter shambles”.

“The mark and measure of each of us as politicians is our willingness to take and to accept responsibility,” she said.

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