BBC Breakfast: Jon Kay challenges Gavin Williamson on exams
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With A-level students up and down the country heading into schools and colleges today to collect their results, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson joined BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin and Jon Kay to discuss what the future may hold. Following reports of more A-A* grades being given than ever before and with the results being granted following teacher assessments for the second year running, Kay was keen to put Williamson on the spot about topics like grade inflation, university admissions and returns to the exam hall next year.
However, when he grilled the Conservative Party MP on the topic of grade inflation, a slip of the tongue is what caught viewers’ attention.
The BBC host put to Education Secretary that the “grade inflation on this level is unlike anything we’ve seen before”, before raising his concerns for future students.
“We do expect students to be getting better grades in this year than perhaps in previous years,” Williamson replied.
“But it’s very difficult to compare the experience that students have been through this year to the experience students have had in many years before.”
Williamson then outlined the government’s plans to get students to “return to normality”, insisting examinations will be back.
“But we do recognise youngsters next year will have (also) faced disruptions in terms of their education, hopefully substantially less than this cohort of youngsters but we do recognize that.”
However, when Kay grilled Williamson on the critical reception his plans have received, he tripped over his words.
“You’re making it sound like it’s all been planned and managed impeccably,” he began. “You’re cretins – critics say it’s been a complete disaster.”
Keeping his composure, Kay went on: “The Institute for Government came out a couple of days ago and said you had failed students because you didn’t plan properly for the eventuality that there would be a second wave and exams would have to be cancelled this year.
“You would be getting a fail today,” Kay added but Williamson stood firm, rejecting the report’s findings and claims.
Inevitably, hundreds of fans weighed in with their thoughts on Williamson’s grilling – but many couldn’t let Kay’s “Freudian slip” go unnoticed.
“LOL. Jon Kay on #BBCBreakfast says to @GavinWilliamson ‘your cretins’ then quickly corrects to ‘critics’,” one fan said on Twitter. “I think Jon was right the first time.”
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A second added: “Love the slip up. ‘Your cretins say’. Hubby & I in stitches. Freudian slip? @BBCBreakfast #BBCBreakfast.”
“@jonkay01 To Gavin Williamson – ‘you’re cretins…Critics’ #BBCbreakfast,” a third commented as they too spotted the mix-up.
While a fourth weighed in: “@jonkay01 full marks for your interview with Gavin Williamson on @BBCBreakfast.
“If I heard correctly you managed to slip in the word cretin before you corrected yourself.”
While a fifth simply shared a shocked-looking gif file with the quote: “‘Cretins’.”
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