Exclusive: '92% of teachers' say Gavin Williamson should resign, ITV News poll finds

It comes amid growing criticism of the government's handling of the crisis, with some unions and headteachers calling for the education secretary to resign. Credit: PA

A huge majority of England's teachers say Education Secretary Gavin Williamson should resign, according to an exclusive poll carried out on behalf of ITV News.

In response to a question posed by app Teacher Tapp, 92% of almost 6,000 respondents said they think Mr Williamson should quit.

The figures come amid growing criticism of the government's handling of the crisis, with some unions and headteachers calling for the education secretary to resign.

In response to ITV News' poll, former education secretary Justine Greening said the government has clearly now "lost the confidence" of teachers.

The ex-minister told ITV News "the poll underlines the lack of confidence there now is in the education strategy from the government". 

She said: "That has to change because we enter the coming months where children will be back out of school, back at home and there isn't confidence that our young people's education is going to be able to continue.

"We need a plan for whilst they're out of school, we need a plan for helping young people catch up when schools are back open again and we need a longer levelling up plan.

She added: "This poll suggests that there isn't trust there with teachers as things stand. I don't get to pick and choose who is in Cabinet. That's a matter for the prime Minister, but trust will come back with a plan and with a team that people have confidence can deliver that plan."Mr Williamson has been facing calls for his resignation following a series of U-turns and fiascos which are said to have caused huge stress for pupils, parents and teachers.

Most recently he's been criticised after England's lockdown was announced with no word on whether exams would be cancelled and no plan for how they might be replaced.

This week he's also been attacked for a failure to provide all disadvantaged pupils with laptops so they can learn remotely while schools are closed during lockdown.

Michael Wilshaw, former Chief Inspector of Schools at Ofsted, said: "We need really strong people in charge of one of the most important departments in government. 

"Education is absolutely critical to the success of our country, it's absolutely critical to the success of our young people, and therefore we need a strong Secretary of State for Education, who can work well with people across the sector. 

"Gavin Williamson has got a big job to do to reclaim any lost confidence."

Critics have accused Mr Williamson of failing to learn from his mistakes, after a similar situation unfolded following the first lockdown.

He was blamed by many for the A-levels results fiasco in the summer that saw thousands of students have their scores downgraded before the government was forced into an embarrassing U-turn.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has continuously resisted pressure to sack the under-fire minister.

Downing Street on Wednesday said the PM continues to have confidence in Mr Williamson and believes he is the best person for the job, after the education secretary had announced the cancellation of this year's GCSE and A-level exams.

Mr Johnson's press secretary Allegra Stratton told reporters Mr Williamson had produced a "full and comprehensive" package of measures for children who will be educated at home.

"It's a huge brief and the prime minister believes the Education Secretary is doing it to his utmost ability," Ms Stratton said.

The survey was conducted by Teacher Tapp on the 6 January 2021 on behalf of ITV News and asked 5,808 teaching professionals: “Should Gavin Williamson resign?” 92% respondents said "yes" with 8% saying "no".