Teachers could be next on the list for vaccines as Gavin Williamson to lay out plan for teachers to grade exams today


TEACHERS could be the next group of people to be given vaccines, MPs were told last night, as kids’ education was thrown into chaos after exams were cancelled.

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is set to lay out a plan today for teachers to dish out A-level and GCSE grades after schools were closed and tests scrapped as the coronavirus crisis spun out of control.

Teachers could be next on the list
Gavin Williamson will set out how kids A-level and GCSEs will be graded

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries suggested in a briefing with MPs that teachers and other frontline key workers would be next on the list to get a vaccination, according to the HuffPost.

Boris Johnson has vowed to give the jab to 13 million people in the four most vulnerable groups before mid-February, in order to relax lockdown restrictions.

According to an MP at the briefing with Dr Harries, she said: ““When the first four groups are completed, then frontline key workers would be vaccinated and this would include consideration of teachers.”

It would mean teachers and school staff would be bumped up the list to be included on the next five priority groups, alongside the over 50s and those with underlying health conditions.

A handful of Tory and Labour MPs, including Robert Halfon, Martin Vickers and Simon Hoare, grilled Dr Harries over the decision not to include teachers in the Phase 1 group initially.

She suggested they could be “considered” as frontline workers, like NHS staff, who are in the top four groups to be given the jab.

The decision on who is top of the list to get a vaccine is ultimately made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

And the Department of Health has stressed the priority list for Phase 1 vaccinations has already been published.

Officials denied suggestions teachers would be included in the first nine groups of people to be given the jab – but said they would be considered for the next phase.

A spokesperson labelled reports teachers could be bumped up the list as “misleading”.

They said: “DCMO made clear teachers with specific underlying health conditions would receive the vaccine as part of the relevant JCVI prioritisation group.

“The JCVI will consider all available evidence for phase 2 recommendations of the vaccination programme.”

Last month, JCVI chair Wei Shin Lim said key workers outside of the NHS and social care would have to wait until all nine of those groups have been vaccinated.

The suggestions teachers should be prioritised comes amid further schools chaos after GCSEs and A-level were cancelled.

Mr Williamson is preparing to lay out how exams will be graded this afternoon.

Last year, the Education Secretary was under enormous pressure to resign after a mutant algorithm downgraded the grades of millions of school leavers – forcing the Government into a screeching U-turn.

Marks were eventually decided on the basis of teacher assessments, leading to more students getting accepted to their top pick for university than ever before.

Mr Williamson had previously promised exams would go forward – despite Wales and Scotland scrapping them.

And last night, Btec students were thrown into further confusion, after the Government said exams, set to start today, could go ahead, but the decision would be left up to individual schools,

The Department for Education said schools and colleges can hold the exams “where they judge it right to do so”.

Some distraught students were asked to decide whether they would sit their exams with less than 12 hours notice.

One student wrote on Twitter: “I chose not to because I was not in the right frame of mind after the school chucked that decision on my under 12 hours before and got little sleep.

“My class is split 50/50 on whether to take it, it’s a shambles. Half the nation sitting exams half of them not”.