'Wales and Scotland acted a month ago, what kept Gavin Williamson?'

6 January 2021, 17:08 | Updated: 6 January 2021, 17:11

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the moment Eddie Mair grills a Tory MP over perceived slowness to act with regard to cancelling exams and informing students.

After it was confirmed in Parliament that GCSE, AS and A-level exams in England this summer will be replaced by school assessments LBC spoke with the Conservative chair of the Education Committee Robert Halfon.

Eddie Mair asked the Tory MP if he felt Education Secretary Gavin Williamson should have made his announcement about schools and exams earlier.

This led Mr Halfon to say he thought there "needs to have been much more planning in terms of educations and a proper educational root map out of coronavirus."

The MP said he thought now the important thing now needed to be a "level playing field" when it comes to "centre assessed grades" to ensure the disadvantaged are not left behind.

Read more: Teacher assessments to replace GCSE and A-Level exams, Education Secretary confirms

Later in the interview when Eddie challenged the Conservative MP why it took Gavin Williamson so long to act when other devolved nations made plans several weeks ago, Mr Halfon said it "shouldn't have happened in the way that it did."

"Wales and Scotland acted months ago, what kept Gavin Williamson?" Eddie asked.

Explaining that the English Government "wanted to try and have exams where possible," the MP told LBC it was a decision agreed upon by the "teaching profession, the unions and the Government."

Read more: Boris Johnson: UK in final 'sprint' to defeat coronavirus

Read more: Colleges begin cancelling BTECS as exam board says they can be taken at a later date

Earlier, The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson acknowledged that exams are the "fairest way" of assessing what a student knows, but said the impact of the pandemic meant it was not possible to hold exams in the summer.

Mr Williamson told MPs that SATs exams will also not be going ahead this year across England.

His comments in the House of Commons came after the Government announced that schools and colleges in England would be closed to most pupils until mid-February amid the new national lockdown.