BBC Breakfast continued today with Dan Walker and Lousie Minchin at the helm and the conversation quickly turned to the news that Boris Johnson has pledged £1.5 million to schools that need renovating and improving. However, in a conversation with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, he and Louise very quickly clashed over the exact timeline on getting the kids back to school come September.
Minchin began: “So, the National Audit Office said in 2017 there was a backlog of £6.7 billion worth of repairs needed, what do you say to critics who say that £1 billion just isn’t enough?”
Mr Williamson explained: “What we are setting out is the spending review will be a 10-year plan of rebuilding schools.
“This is the first part of it, £1 billion, an extra 50 schools are going to be rebuilt and on top of that £560 million going into schools this year to do essential maintenance, repair and extensions.
“So this is really good news, but we accept that we want to go more that is why we are going to be setting out a 10-year plan, to really deliver transformative change -”
Minchin interrupted: “We have so many questions to get through so I am going to try and be brief.
“What is really clear is that people, teachers, parents all really want answers, so let’s talk about September.
“Are you committed to all pupils returning in September? Will that be five days a week?”
Mr Williamson quickly said: “Yes. Now what we are going to be doing is just later this week and I am not trying to evade the question, but we are just going to have the opportunity to set out very clearly as to what our full return plan is for September.
“Will this plan include social bubbles? Classroom bubbles.”
Mr Williamson explained: “We recognise that we want to see every child back into school, we want to see all year groups back.
“We are rapidly approaching one and a half million children going back into school at the end of last week.
“I imagine this number will grow this week and grow again next week as more children return to school, parents are confident about what their children are receiving, and for schools to get comfortable about what they are offering.