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Confusion over school closures is further evidence that Boris Johnson needs a new education secretary

Editorial: The government has approved what will be a postcode lottery for the reopening of schools after the Christmas break – this patchwork approach makes no sense

Saturday 02 January 2021 09:39 GMT
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Education secretary Gavin Williamson has failed to inspire confidence during the pandemic
Education secretary Gavin Williamson has failed to inspire confidence during the pandemic (PA)

Not for the first time in the coronavirus pandemic, the government has ended up with a last-minute change of policy, which confuses the public and gives people little confidence that ministers are on top of the crisis. They have approved what will be a postcode lottery for the reopening of schools after the Christmas break.  

Although ministers said the majority of primary schools would return as planned on Monday, secondary schools will be closed to most pupils for two weeks, with students in exam years returning on 11 January and other secondary and college students going back on 18 January. 

In London, all primaries will now shut, following a change of policy that would have seen some remain open, with an estimated 12,000 pupils crossing borders to attend their school. This patchwork approach made no sense, and was at odds with the government’s refusal to place parts of London with low infection rates in different tiers of restrictions to those with higher figures.

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