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Education Secretary confirms exams WILL go ahead next summer



Gavin Williamson in a suit holding a flower: MailOnline logo


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Most A-level and GCSE exams in England will be delayed by three weeks next year to allow pupils to catch up on time lost to pandemic closures, Gavin Williamson  confirmed today.

The Education Secretary also outlined plans to streamline some subjects saying it would ‘support teachers and students by freeing up valuable teaching time’.

Most exams will take place between June 7 and July 2, but Mr Williamson also said that one maths and one English GCSE exam will take place before the May half-term, to allow pupils forced to self-isolate during the main exam period a chance to sit a paper in a core subject. 

In a written ministerial statement today, Mr Williamson confirmed that he had rejected calls for the exams next summer to be scrapped or postponed for longer, as had been called for by some teaching unions.

They warned last week that moving the timing of exams back slightly was unlikely to make any significant difference to the varied learning experiences students have had this year. 

‘We know that exams are the fairest way of measuring a student’s abilities and accomplishments, including the most disadvantaged,’ Mr Williamson said.

‘We want to give our young people the opportunity next summer to demonstrate what they know and can do.’



Gavin Williamson standing in front of a building: The Education Secretary also outlined plans to streamline some subjects saying it would 'support teachers and students by freeing up valuable teaching time'


© Provided by Daily Mail
The Education Secretary also outlined plans to streamline some subjects saying it would ‘support teachers and students by freeing up valuable teaching time’



a group of people lying on the floor: In a written ministerial statement today, Mr Williamson confirmed that he had rejected calls for the exams next summer to be scrapped or postponed for longer, as had been called for by some teaching unions


© Provided by Daily Mail
In a written ministerial statement today, Mr Williamson confirmed that he had rejected calls for the exams next summer to be scrapped or postponed for longer, as had been called for by some teaching unions

Results days for AS/A levels and GCSEs will fall on Tuesday 24 August and Friday 27 August respectively, instead of being a week apart.

Mr Williamson’s announcement came in the wake of widespread condemnation of his handling of this years exam results.

Thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by an algorithm, before England’s exams regulator Ofqual announced a U-turn allowing them to use teachers’ predictions. 

Mr Williamson added: ‘Schools and colleges have shown exams can be held, even in areas of local restriction, in the autumn exam series which is currently taking place. ‘Exams next year will be supported by contingencies for all scenarios.’

It comes after Scotland’s Education Secretary John Swinney announced last week that National 5 exams would not go ahead in 2021 and Higher and Advanced Highers would be delayed until May 13.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, warned that a ‘compression’ of the exam series may impact student wellbeing.

He said: ‘Announcing a delay is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the planning that now needs to be done.

‘This step does not address the disparity between different student’s different levels of disruption to learning; much more needs to be done to ensure that the qualification system takes

Joseph M. Cronin, first Massachusetts secretary of education, dies at 85

“In order to really give poor people in the inner city a chance to compete,” he told the Globe, “we will have to spend more on their education than on the average child in other communities.”

Dr. Cronin, who in his long, multifaceted career as an educator had also served as president of what is now Bentley University, died Saturday in the Pat Roche Hospice Home in Hingham of progressive supranuclear palsy. He was 85 and had lived in Milton for many years.

As he prepared to retire in 1997 from leading what was then Bentley College, he received a letter from nearly 20 colleagues who signed themselves as “the faculty and staff of color.”

“Under your leadership diversity has become a business imperative for the college,” they wrote. “Your leadership in diversity has resulted in many of us joining the Bentley community.”

When Dr. Cronin first arrived in 1991 to serve as president, he stressed that he wanted the college to prepare graduates to be global thinkers ready for careers anywhere in the world.

“Businesses want people who are versatile, who can go, say, to Zimbabwe for a week on a special assignment, and they had better have had courses in government and history to absorb this,” Dr. Cronin told the Globe. “We want them to be ready.”

As Massachusetts secretary of education in the early 1970s, he played a key role in implementing Chapter 766, the state’s special education law that became a model for legislation in other states.

Dr. Cronin also was credited with increasing state support of the arts and humanities in public education, from $250,000 to $2.5 million

He served as state secretary of education for three years before leaving to become superintendent of schools in Illinois. As with the education secretary post, he was the first to fill that newly created position.

In Illinois, he was hired by and answered to a recently formed state Board of Education and he stayed until 1980.

“The biggest dream the board had was to desegregate the remaining 30 city school districts. By 1980, 20 of them did so,” Dr. Cronin wrote in 1981.

The efforts by Dr. Cronin and the state board “won us mixed reviews,” he noted in the 25th anniversary report of his Harvard class.

The Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly, “said we kicked the door of racial segregation down” in persuading Chicago’s school officials to desegregation numerous schools.

But the Chicago Tribune, he added, “called me ‘one of the most imperious and extravagant bureaucrats in the history of Illinois,’ which prose I found somewhat extravagant.”

Joseph Marr Cronin was born in Dorchester on Aug. 30, 1935, the oldest of four siblings.

His father, Joseph Michael Cronin, was an accountant and an attorney. His mother, Mary Marr Cronin, had been a secretary for the Marr family’s construction business.

Dr. Cronin’s family moved to Milton when he was a boy and he graduated from Boston College High School in 1952.

He went to Harvard College, where