Tag Archives: Williamson

Good riddance, Gavin! Williamson sacked as Education Secretary

Ooh, don’t have a Betty: Gavin Williamson was dubbed the Frank Spencer of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet due to his ineptitude and lack of intelligence. Worse still, he didn’t have the heart that Michael Crawford gave his comedy character. In fact, let’s face it – Williamson has no redeeming features at all.

England’s education system is (momentarily) stronger with the announcement that Gavin Williamson has been sacked from his post as the minister in charge, as part of a Cabinet reshuffle by Boris Johnson.

His two-year tenure stands as testament to the fact that having no Education Secretary is better than having him in the role.

Incompetent Williamson’s failures are fast becoming the stuff of legend, with the headline disasters well-known to all of us:

In 2020, when A-level students could not take their exams because of Covid-19, he used a algorithm to allocate marks – that was rigged to make it seem that privately-educated pupils were more intelligent than the riff-raff from the state system that he ran.

He later tried to force disadvantaged, black and minority ethnic children in England to take exams when other kids didn’t have to, claiming that they respond better to examination conditions. It seemed clear racism – an attempt to put these children down with duff results.

He made it clear that the government expected all schools to open as normal in January this year – then closed them after just one day because prime minister Boris Johnson ordered a new lockdown and he was unaware of it.

He decided to foist Latin as a subject onto state school pupils, rather than anything useful. At the time I wrote: “Having killed the economy with Brexit and enormous numbers of the population with Covid-19, the Tories now want us all to learn a dead language.”

He scrapped dozens of legal rights for children.

He also wanted a clampdown on indiscipline in schools after the return from Covid-19 lockdown – but provided no evidence whatsoever to support his wild claim that our children had gone feral.

Before Boris Johnson gave him the bullet, it was suggested that Williamson would blame school pupils and parents if Covid-19 infections spike after the start of the school term.

It’s still too early to tell whether that has happened but we will be able to judge his successor by whether they choose to follow the same cowardly strategy.

If Johnson continues to follow his “Cabinet of all the idiots” strategy (he thinks it makes him look like the intelligent one) then our children’s education may be in for an even worse battering.

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Gavin Williamson prepares to blame school kids and parents for Covid spike

“Perfectly safe”: this photo was taken on a school staircase after Boris Johnson ruled that it was “perfectly safe” for children to go back there in September 2020 – no social distancing, no PPE… not safe at all. As schools reopened THIS September, NOTHING HAS CHANGED AT ALL.

We all saw this coming for a long time, didn’t we?

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has had a month and a half in which to install Covid-19 restricting measures – like improved ventilation – in schools.

He has done nothing.

And now, with schools across the UK reopening again for the autumn term, the dunce at the Department for Education is telling parents any increase in Covid infections will be their fault.

That’s right.

The new Conservative Government plan to deal with the coming wave of Covid-19 is…

You can read the mainstream media version of the story here:

Parents are understandably anxious – and angry

This parent makes the concerns clear:

It seems clear that the plan for keeping schools clear of Covid is exactly as described in this parody account:

Meanwhile, the virus is spreading across the UK, with the restriction of its spread caused by the school holidays eliminated:

Meanwhile, let’s remember the Tories’ real policy for dealing with Covid-19:

So, as your children succumb to infection because they’re being ordered to attend badly-ventilated classrooms before they’ve had a chance to be vaccinated, just remember that all this suffering is vital for Conservative government ministers and their friends to make a fat wad of money.

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Starmer runs away from Green New Deal campaigners [Also in the news]

The excuses man: when approached about the environment, Starmer makes his excuses and runs away.

Wasn’t the Green New Deal a major part of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour policy?

And Keir Starmer was fully behind it then.

But now he seems to have performed a massive about-turn – and is actually avoiding campaigners against climate change.

How does he think this is acceptable?

Also in the news:

Public dissatisfaction with Starmer continues to rise

Sunak tells NHS staff if they don’t like their pitiful pay rise they should retrain and get better jobs

The mystery of the Education Secretary’s A-level results may be solved

More government cronyism and corruption

And finally: A reminder of what Boris Johnson said he would do if Brexit emptied supermarket shelves

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Zahawi replacing Williamson in suggested Cabinet change would be going from bad to worse

Nadhim Zahawi: waving the flag and messing up the message.

If Boris Johnson really is planning to reshuffle his cabinet, I see the plan is still to surround himself with people who are even more incompetent and corrupt than he is.

Nadhim Zahawi is tipped to replace Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary after Williamson’s latest gaffe – pretending to forget his own A-level results in an LBC interview:

Williamson previously tried to have thousands of students’ A-level results marked down, using an algorithm that artificially boosted privately-educated pupils over those who went to state school.

He demanded a ramping-up of discipline in schools, claiming without any evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic had “inevitably” turned our children feral and blaming technology – mobile phones – as a disruptive influence while at the same time praising it for keeping them learning.

When Boris Johnson announced a lockdown in January, Williamson presided over chaos in the education system as primary pupils were sent back to school for just one day before Johnson pulled out the rug from under the system and Williamson had not provided any advance warning – at all – about what was going to happen.

He had previously taken local education authorities to court for keeping schools closed when he wanted them to open, creating confusion and anxiety due to constant mixed-messaging.

He illegally stripped children in care of 65 legal protections after conducting a consultation that was selective about whose opinions it sought. The change proved to be temporary.

He was exposed as a racist when he said children from ethnic minorities need to sit exams. After it was pointed out that those in Wales and Scotland who weren’t going to do so (because of the Covid crisis) may have better results, he scrapped the plan for exams in England.

And don’t even get me started on his plan to offer Latin as a language subject in schools – a dead language for a country that is dying due to Brexit, Covid-19 and the corruption of government ministers like him.

Given all of the above, one might think it is a good thing that Williamson may be going.

But there is just one problem:

Nadhim Zahawi is at least as bad as Williamson – if not worse.

Zahawi wants everyone to think that he has made a great success of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout – he is the Vaccines Minister, after all – but there’s just one problem: it has been run entirely by the NHS.

He’s just the figurehead. His other duties include trying to avoid explaining his prime minister’s financial irregularities, like the Downing Street flat refurbishment:

How about when he had to explain why Johnson had said vaccinations had broken the link between Covid infection and hospitalisation?

Before the vaccines job he was a business minister – and duly messed up explaining why the government wasn’t providing enough help for the self-employed during the Covid crisis:

He has a second job working for an oil company – a conflict of interest at a time when pressure will be put on such firms to green up their act.

Historically, he became notorious during the expenses scandal, after it was revealed that he had claimed public money to heat his stables.

He used a mortgage lender based in a tax haven.

He attended the Presidents Club dinner event- on multiple occasions – where women were subjected to sexual harassment, and did not report the offences.

He objected to Donald Trump’s travel ban against Muslims – but only when his own family were affected.

He is incompetent and he is corrupt.

And it seems Boris Johnson thinks he is perfect material to take over from another corrupt incompetent in a Cabinet role.

It is an apt coincidence that this is being reported on the day the former Welsh Education minister, Kirsty Williams, is in the headlines for speaking out about online abuse she received.

She could have done the Westminster job better than either of these two clowns.

Source: Nadhim Zahawi tipped for Cabinet role as pressure builds on Gavin Williamson

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Latin to be offered to state school pupils to make the UK even more out-of-touch

Wearing the dunce’s cap yet again: but should Gavin Williamson get all the blame for wanting to inflict Latin on our unsuspecting sprogs? I suspect this is another daft demand from Boris Johnson and Williamson, being a dimwitted yes-man, is just pushing it through.

It is as though Gavin Williamson actually sat in the Department for Education, thinking: “I can’t screw up exams this year; how else can I bugger up state school kids?”

Here’s what he came up with:

Latin lessons are to be offered to thousands of state school pupils in England as part of an effort by the Department for Education to make the language less “elitist”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said a new programme would ensure the subject was not “for the privileged few”.

A £4 million Latin Excellence Programme will see the ancient language offered to 40 state schools in England as part of a four-year pilot, according to The Daily Telegraph.

It makes a perverse kind of sense: having killed the economy with Brexit and enormous numbers of the population with Covid-19, the Tories now want us all to learn a dead language.

It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of other things to which Williamson could be devoting his time – as the Twitter community was quick to point out:

All good points as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Other commenters have taken glee in pointing out that Williamson has, yet again, drawn attention to his own shortcomings:

I’m sure nobody would want to argue with that!

Source: Latin to be offered to state school pupils to make subject less ‘elitist’ | The Independent

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Priorities: Tories fail to provide funding for schools to recover from Covid-19 because they want YOUR kids to fail

Gavin Williamson: he could provide the funding needed to help your kids catch up with the education they’ve missed due to the Covid lockdowns – he just doesn’t want to.

Tory priorities in action: they have billions to waste on PPE provision contracts for donors who were never going to be able to provide anything, but they absolutely refuse to spend enough for your kids’ education to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The gap between what is needed and what they’re offering is apparently so wide that England’s school recovery commissioner (did you even know there was such a person) has resigned in disgust:

The education recovery commissioner for England, Sir Kevan Collins, has resigned in a row over the lack of “credible” Covid catch-up funding.

Sir Kevan took on the role as catch-up tsar in February to develop a long-term plan to help pupils make up for lost learning during the pandemic.

But on Wednesday he stepped down saying the government’s funding for the plan “falls far short of what is needed”.

Head teachers labelled the £1.4bn cash over three years as a “damp squib”.

The Education Policy Institute had calculated that a catch-up funding recovery would need £13.5bn – and Sir Kevan was reported as having put forward plans costing £15bn.

The government’s proposal represents £50 per pupil per year.

The government’s response has been to thank Sir Kevan for his work, and to claim that already £3 billion has been put into helping school pupils catch up.

So that’s an admission that they’re providing less than a third of what is needed.

The tragedy of this is that the government could magic up the cash for this in a heartbeat – but our dunce of an Education Secretary, Gavin “Algorithm” Williamson, together with Boris Johnson himself, simply doesn’t want to.

To explain: governments create money and invest it in the economy wherever their priorities lie. Last year, Johnson created £300 billion to keep the UK ticking over during the Covid lockdowns.

So, if the government really wanted to invest in your child’s education, it would create the money for it and pump it into the education system.

The only conclusion to be had is that the Tories don’t want your child to be properly educated. Why should they? Their children are privately-educated.

Source: School catch-up tsar resigns over lack of funding – BBC News

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Education professionals rubbish Williamson’s claim Covid has worsened behaviour in English schools

Wearing the dunce’s cap yet again: Gavin Williamson was happy to deliberately endanger your children by reopening schools at the height of the Covid crisis (he was forced to close them again when the demand for him to do so became overwhelming. Now he’s happy to falsely criminalise them – in order to satisfy a new profit-making market he is creating?

The Tory Education Secretary’s unevidenced claim that discipline in English schools has “inevitably” worsened after a year of lockdowns has been dismissed as nonsense by people who actually work with school pupils.

Gavin Williamson intends to impose a national network of “behaviour hubs” to spread “best practice” among schools and teachers.

But it seems there is absolutely no need for them. Why is the Tory minister so keen to force them on our schools, and on our children?

Is it anything to do with his new network of “secure schools” – prisons for youngsters – to be run by private firms as “charitable” enterprises?

But Mark Russell, the chief executive of the Children’s Society, told The Guardian:

“We are not aware of any evidence that their behaviour is worse, and our practitioners report that on the whole young people have been relieved to get back inside the classroom.”

Mary Bousted, a joint leader of the National Education Union, said:

“With all the challenges currently facing schools, playing to the gallery by talking tough on behaviour is the least useful approach the education secretary can take.”

Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Schools Minister, also said something – but we are already aware that he is an extremely suspect character himself so it is best to pass him by.

Stuart Lock is chief executive of the Advantage Schools trust, which includes one of the 22 schools named as hubs. Even he disagreed with Williamson’s claims:

“I don’t believe classroom behaviour has got worse than it was before the pandemic. It is probably a bit better.”

Even the man leading the new project – Tom Bennett, the DfE’s lead adviser on behaviour – has said there is no evidence of worsened behaviour:

“To be honest, the picture on behaviour we’re seeing is reasonably consistent with the behaviour we were seeing before the pandemic.”

So why has Williamson suddenly falsified a claim that our kids have all gone feral, and started wasting our money on a project to correct behaviour that hasn’t gone bad?

Well, there is this new “secure schools” aspect of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill:

Secure schools are essentially a re-branding of Young Offenders Institutions that allows private organisations to run them.

The government says it is building “schools with security, not prisons with education” but as Zahra Bei wrote in 2019, “the policy of rebranding youth jails as ‘secure schools’ provides a thinly-veiled disguise for what in essence marks the start of the biggest children’s prison expansion programme in Britain”.

Members of the British Association of Social Workers have called the plans “a penal approach rooted in the past”.

The contract for the first secure school was awarded to academy chain Oasis, which has one of the highest rates of personal exclusions in the UK.

It will be on the site of the former Medway Secure Training Centre in Kent, which was described as “a site of violence and abuse that prevented the young people who were held there from accessing learning and freedom”.

After a dispute arose over whether running a child prison could be considered a suitable activity for a charity, the government wrote clauses into its new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to ensure that running a child prison can be considered a charitable activity in law.

The change will encourage more academy chains to be providers, creating what the Tories no doubt hope will be a profitable market. And the use of charities will put distance between the Tory government and anything that happens there.

You can read further information on the “secure schools” project here.

With a new market opening up for the detention (and mistreatment?) of children, it seems clear that the organisations running it will want a supply of children.

And suddenly Gavin Williamson is talking about poor behaviour in schools. Convenient?

Source: Experts reject claim Covid has worsened behaviour in English schools | Pupil behaviour | The Guardian

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Gavin Williamson wants school discipline clampdown. Based on what evidence?

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em: Gavin Williamson was unkindly compared to Frank Spencer from the 70s sitcom. Sadly, if he were more like the character Michael Crawford immortalised, he’d probably care more about children’s well-being and less about subjecting them to “discipline” – which, in the mouth of a Tory, seems very creepy indeed.

Gavin Williamson, the dunderheaded education secretary who illegally scrapped dozens of legal rights for children, is attacking them again.

This time he’s telling us that long periods in lockdown have “inevitably” turned our children feral, and they need to have hefty amounts of discipline whacked into them now that schools are open again.

(When I say “whacked”, I should stress that he’s not actually promoting a return to physical punishments – although I wouldn’t put it past him and our government of weirdo fascists.)

I see no evidence in support of Williamson’s claim. Indeed, information he has provided himself suggests that kids in lockdown have settled down to the different routine of remote schooling via the internet.

“Technology has been invaluable keeping children learning during lockdowns and we support its use,” he said.

Unfortunately, in the very same breath, he demanded that technology is a disruptive influence and that mobile phones should be banned from schools.

He’s actually trying to do something clever here – supporting a lie with a truth. But we can all see through it – can’t we?

This Writer’s personal opinion is that mobile phones shouldn’t be allowed in classrooms. If kids insist on bringing them in, teachers should keep a list of those who have them, and should collect them in the morning and give them back at the end of the school day.

It would be too easy to use internet-enabled mobiles to cheat – and that would undermine the point of going to school.

The points about cyberbullying and inappropriate use of social media are, on balance, also fair:

Mr Williamson has made banning mobile phones in schools a key part of his plan, saying they not only distract from “exercise and good old-fashioned play” but also foment cyber bullying and the inappropriate use of social media.

But he has produced no evidence to suggest that possession of a mobile phone, use of it as an education tool during lockdown, or indeed being forced to stay at home at all have eroded discipline in children.

Indeed, if our kids have buckled down and studied at home, without a teacher standing over them, that tends to indicate that they have employed self-discipline. Doesn’t it?

Also, he hasn’t provided any information about the kind of discipline he intends to impose. Is he advocating the conversion of our schools into training grounds for some kind of imposed fascism – the “Johnson Youth”?

The backlash has started:

Last word: It has been alleged that Williamson’s discipline drive is a retaliation against kids who criticised him for policies like his stupid algorithm-based plan to replace exam marks, that automatically assumed that state school pupils would not achieve results as high as those who were privately-educated…

Can anybody provide evidence to support this? I haven’t seen any.

But you have to admit, based on his behaviour, it rings true.

Source: Gavin Williamson backs mobile phone ban in schools and claims children have lacked ‘discipline’ during lockdown | Evening Standard

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Education Secretary denies refusing cheap internet for children, to ensure they couldn’t learn at home

Gavin Williamson: so stupid, he thinks his daft excuse about quality control will hold water. His Tory government doesn’t have any?

It seems Gavin Williamson is making a fuss about this.

According to the Mirror,

Gavin Williamson turned down an offer to get free or cheap broadband for thousands of disadvantaged families, the Mirror has learned.

Broadband giant BT offered to supply families basic connections to allow children to access online learning with schools closed for months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the firm’s Chief Executive revealed they had given free wifi vouchers to the Government in June but the Department for Education ‘struggled to distribute them effectively’ and returned them.

Williamson tells a different story:

A spokesman for the education department said a pilot of the scheme had not provided “reliable and consistent” internet connection.

Who do you believe?

Well, BT is an Internet Service Provider of very long standing, with experience in providing a reliable service to many thousands – if not millions – of homes.

And the Conservative Government of which Williamson is a member has also displayed consistency – in wasting public money on services offered by cowboy companies cobbled together by Tory donors or spoilt friends of Cabinet members.

It looks like another ideologically-motivated attack on the poor; pretend the offer doesn’t meet what passes for Conservative government quality control and reject it – to ensure that poor kids miss out on the education that might otherwise give them an advantage over rich kids who tend not to have two brain cells to rub together.

How does it look to you?

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Williamson’s failures on home learning expose Tory policy stupidity on ‘Broadband Communism’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson may be acting “to the utmost of his ability”, but so was Frank Spencer – the calamitous comedy character with whom Williamson has been compared.

If this inspires confidence in you, then you’re not thinking hard enough:

Saying the prime minister thinks Gavin Williamson is being Education Secretary “to the utmost of his ability” is not the same as saying he has “full confidence” in him.

Williamson has far too many mistakes in his recent history for any member of the public to have full confidence in him, let alone any school pupil.

Only yesterday he admitted that his Covid-19-related failures – in both policy and practice – have made it impossible to hold GCSE, AS and A level exams this year:

Perhaps you don’t grasp the enormity of the admission from what he said. Labour’s shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green, made it clear that she holds him to blame for the chaos in the education system.

The reason Williamson has cancelled the exams is that the Covid-19 crisis – and its effect on schools – has made it impossible to ensure that pupils across the UK have been educated to an equivalent standard.

The reasons for the uneven standards include the fact that teachers have been unable to plan their lessons properly due to Williamson’s unfortunate habit of announcing that schools will stay open no matter what – and then closing them.

Also, he was supposed to provide laptops to pupils, in order to ensure that they could carry on learning to an acceptable standard even if they were confined to their homes. He didn’t (or at least, he didn’t provide enough).

This has now necessitated children without laptops being added to the “vulnerable” list of youngsters who have to go to school during lockdown, alongside the kids of key workers. This amounts to another example of class warfare – kids without laptops are likely to be poor, and sending them to school exposes them to the most common vector for transmission of the killer virus:

Finally, there’s the fact that some families don’t have access to the broadband internet connections necessary to experience this kind of home learning.

The Tories now agree with Labour that this is a good idea – but it is too late to implement it in time to help this year’s crop of exam-takers.

Let us remind ourselves of the reaction – from the Tories and the mass media – when the Labour Party proposed free broadband across the UK in the run-up to the 2019 general election:

Who was right?

John McDonnell and Labour, of course (Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, that is. Kate Green, while being right about Gavin Williamson, also said that schools should stay open. That’s the lunacy of the party under Keir Starmer for you)).

If that party had been elected, free broadband would have been brought to the UK, school pupils would have been able not only to do their homework but to carry out distance learning, preparing them for their exams which would not have had to be cancelled – and it would have helped adults to work from home as well, which would have been a great help to a great many people during lockdown, as well.

That’s the problem with silly Tory ideological incompetence.

Their failure to accept the wisdom of free broadband, and their failure to equip school pupils for home learning, means Williamson has been forced to cancel exams because pupils are not well-enough educated.

As a result, the UK’s workforce will be less competitive in the world marketplace in the future, when compared with other countries that were better-prepared and more willing to help everybody in their populations, rather than just the very rich.

So when we look at the malady afflicting the UK’s education system under the Conservatives, during the Covid-19 crisis, we can see one thing clearly:

Williamson is a symptom of the illness. Conservative government is the cause.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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