Headteachers and teacher leaders have expressed ‘shock’ and ‘surprise’ at the news that former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has been knighted.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said school leaders would be “surprised” to hear the news.
He added that the challenges of the pandemic and their impact on education would have been “difficult for any education secretary, and that needs to be recognised.”
“But Mr. Williamson’s experience of schools and colleges during his tenure as Education Secretary has been one of endless confusion, inevitable reversals and even threats of legal action to overturn local decisions,” he said. -he declares.
“It was not entirely Mr Williamson’s fault.
“The Downing Street hand was also detectable amid the chaos.”
“However, many parents will share our surprise that his record in this role warrants the award of a knighthood.”
Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU Teachers’ Union, said of the news: ‘Members of the public who think honors like this should be a reward for honorable service and being efficient in your work ?
“Well, nobody could really tell Gavin Williamson was one of them.”
“It’s true that he was spared for education, that it’s a very, very difficult time.
“But if there was a bad decision to be made, Gavin Williamson made it infallibly,” she added.
“He was not helped by Downing Street.
“It’s absolutely true.
“But, you know, that’s a classic example of being promoted upwards for failure — keep failing upwards,” she added.
“I also suspect that Boris Johnson knows very well, that he shares some of the blame for the disastrous management of education during Covid and it is a sop to his conscience, that he left Gavin Williamson to face some of the very bad decisions were made at number 10, rather than the DfE,” she said.
“So it’s belated compensation for being the scapegoat for some of No. 10’s bad decisions, even though he was fully capable of taking several of them.”
“Teachers, principals and education professionals who have maintained education at their own enormous personal and professional cost, will be fine, many will be outraged by this, as they have had to deal not only with Covid , but to the incompetence of Gavin Williamson, and they will be outraged that he has been so rewarded for his failure.
Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Charitable Trust, which runs 52 schools across England, told the PA news agency: “It is a surprise and a shock.
“I have no inside knowledge of the criteria needed to offer someone a knighthood.
“I’m sure those who made this decision have their reasons for doing so.”
He added: “I can think of countless wonderful head teachers who I think deserve to be knighted.
“I think they have withstood two years of opening and closing, of lockdowns and government advice and guidance that has been issued and withdrawn, issued and changed, often at the last moment.”
Mr Chalke said it would be an ‘extraordinary act of recognition’ if an honorary award such as the George Cross was awarded to headteachers for their efforts during the pandemic, just as it has been awarded to the NHS.
“I can think off the top of my head of a hundred educators, I could literally I can sit here and name them who have served on the front lines throughout this pandemic, which is Gavin Williamson’s period of service. “, did he declare.
“And they kept the education going, whatever was thrown at them.
“And my comment to the awards committee would be that I’m surprised they haven’t recognized more broadly the extraordinary contribution of frontline people who have received belated advice and conflicting advice.”
Lib Dem education spokeswoman Munira Wilson said Mr Williamson’s knighthood is “an insult to every child, parent and teacher who has battled Covid”.
And former shadow schools minister Wes Streeting said the knighthood was a “reward for failure”.