Commenting on the departure of Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary and the appointment of Nadhim Zahawi, Deborah Lawson, Community Assistant General Secretary (Voice Community education and early years section) said:
“We congratulate Nadhim Zahawi on his appointment and return to the Department for Education.
“He faces huge challenges in the face of the ongoing pandemic, and a new direction is needed.
“The early years are at the start of the education journey and must be recognised as such.
“Under successive governments, the early years sector has been the ‘Cinderella service’ – overlooked, or added as a footnote to announcements about schools; taken for granted, and starved of resources. That must change.
“We hope he will start by announcing the mitigations for exams this coming summer, for which schools have already been waiting too long.
“He must also address the pay, conditions and workload of early years professionals, teachers, headteachers and support staff, which are driving the recruitment and retention crises in our nurseries, schools and colleges.
“We look forward to working positively with the new Secretary of State to develop a robust education recovery plan and ensure that the once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform education – what we learn, how we learn it and how we assess it – and make sure it meets the needs of children, parents and the economy, is not missed.”