Education Secretary to hold talks with school leaders amid coronavirus pandemic

School leaders are due to meet the Education Secretary to discuss the implications of schools being closed and exams being postponed, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gavin Williamson is expected to meet representatives from the NAHT school leaders’ union, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) on Monday.

Ahead of the meeting, Leora Cruddas, chief executive officer of CST, said teachers are working in “extremely challenging circumstances” during a “very fluid situation”.

“It is important to understand that all the big decisions about school closures, exams and the suspension of inspections can only be made by the Government,” she said.

“These are not decisions that regulators can make independently.

“CST’s top priorities, in addition to seeking clarity on these big decisions, will be about the arrangements for safeguarding and welfare of our children and young people, and in particular the most vulnerable.”

The meeting comes after the largest education union in Europe wrote to the Prime Minister asking for full disclosure over his decision not to shut schools amid the pandemic.

The letter, from the National Education Union, asked why the Government is not closing schools in the same way as other countries, particularly now plans are under way to ban mass gatherings.

Boris Johnson said on Thursday that closures now could do “more harm than good”, hours after Ireland announced that schools and colleges would close for a fortnight.