A-level scandal: Education Secretary Gavin Williamson defends going on holiday before results day

The education secretary has defended going on holiday a week before the A-level exams controversy.

Gavin Williamson cancelled a key meeting to go on holiday in Scarborough – days before teenagers received their results, according to The Sunday Times.

In a message posted on Twitter, Mr Williamson defended the trip, writing: “I cancelled our family holiday abroad this year to focus on the challenges COVID-19 created for the education sector.

“Over the summer, I went to see family in Scarborough for the first time since lockdown, and while there I was in constant communication with the department.”

It comes after education minister Gillian Keegan was criticised for sharing photos of herself in France as the results fiasco unfolded.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CD0qpfYApoA/

Mr Williamson liked several of the pictures, The Mail on Sunday reported.

The education secretary has resisted calls to resign over a controversial algorithm that was initially used to grade A-level pupils whose exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When the results were released it was revealed that nearly 40% of A-level marks had been downgraded in England.

The system also appeared to advantage private schools, which saw nearly double the number of increases in top marks year-on-year compared to state comprehensives.

It was eventually scrapped in favour of teacher-assessed grades, with Mr Williamson telling Sky News earlier this week he was “incredibly sorry for the distress” the row had caused.

He said up until A-level results day he had “every confidence” the algorithm would not penalise disadvantaged students.

Amid the controversy, the prime minister has been on holiday in Scotland.

On the day A-level results were released, Boris Johnson had given his full endorsement to the algorithm.

He said: “Let’s be in no doubt about it – the exam results we’ve got today are robust, they’re good, they’re dependable for employers.”

The family shared the snaps from the Scottish Highlands. Pic: Carrie Symonds

Mr Johnson and his fiancee Carrie Symonds have cut short their holiday after pictures of their cottage were published.

A government source confirmed to the PA news agency that the Prime Minister has returned from Scotland.

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