A Trafford Labour councillor has called for Gavin Williamson to resign as education secretary, after accusing him of ‘failing teachers, pupils and parents’ throughout the pandemic.
Cllr Steven Longden, who represents Brooklands, also branded the South Staffordshire MP ‘incompetent’ for reopening schools for just one day earlier this month.
Speaking during Wednesday’s Full Council meeting, Cllr Longden, tabled a motion that called for Mr Williamson to be replaced ‘immediately’ describing his decision making throughout the health crises as ‘haphazard at best and non-existent at all other times.’
“On issues from the fiasco over the grading of last summer’s exams to the supply of laptops for deprived students to help with home learning, Mr Williamson has consistently failed teachers, pupils and parents,” argued Cllr Longden.
“And perhaps the most dangerous example of his incompetence was ordering teachers and children back to the classroom only to shut them the following day after Boris Johnson described schools as ‘vectors for transmission.’”
Shadow education secretary, Kate Green, who represents Urmston, has also said it was time for Mr Williamson to resign following the free school meals scandal – and accused him of ‘not being up to the job’.
The call followed a recent public outcry when images of lunchboxes containing just £4 or £5 worth of food intended to last a week were shared online.
Labour says it is increasing pressure on the government to deliver more support for families while schools and colleges in England are closed to most pupils.
Currently, it is unclear if children will receive free school meals during February half-term.
Meanwhile, Cllr Longden, a secondary school teacher, also says more clarity is needed on how and when pupils will be assessed for this year’s exams.
“It has been six months since the end of last academic year and my teacher colleagues, students, parents and carers still have no firm details about how, when and what they will be assessed on for their GCSE and A-levels this year,” he said.
“We have only a vague idea that pupils will sit their exams in less than four months, but we have absolutely no idea about what to prepare for.”
“The education secretary clearly has no real understanding of the levels of stress that young people are being put through right now,” said Cllr Longden, adding, this cannot be allowed to continue as Mr Williamson brings shame to his department, his party and to the nation.”