Education Secretary defends vacationing in Spain as solid crisis emerged

Education Secretary defends vacationing in Spain as solid crisis emerged

The Cabinet minister clarified on Monday that she has consistently worked remotely and maintained her role as chair of a response team even while she was in Europe celebrating her father’s birthday. Aides had earlier confirmed that she was in Spain from August 25 to Thursday when the closures of more than 100 schools were announced.

The revelation of her vacation coincided with Ms. Keegan facing scrutiny after being captured on a microphone expressing frustration that “everyone else has sat on their arse and done nothing” during the crisis.

Government ministers have asserted that their actions were prompted by alarming new evidence concerning reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) that emerged over the summer. Ms. Keegan explained that her trip to Spain, where she reportedly owns property in Madrid and Marbella, was her first opportunity for a summer holiday after dealing with teacher strikes, GCSE, and A-level results.

She emphasized that she chaired a response team from Spain every day while on vacation, emphasizing her history of working remotely throughout her career, including in business before becoming an MP. She also expressed her intention to return immediately if investigations raised concerns. She noted a slight delay in her return due to air traffic control issues.

The announcement of complete or partial closures at 104 schools and colleges in England due to Raac was made through a press release on Thursday afternoon. According to her aides, Ms. Keegan was overseeing the publication of guidance within her department on that day before engaging with broadcasters in the evening.

A Department for Education spokesperson highlighted Ms. Keegan’s summer activities, including addressing teacher strikes, announcing new schools, and overseeing the return to pre-pandemic grading for GCSE, A-level, and VTQ results. The spokesperson also stressed that the Education Secretary made a cautious and proactive decision to revise the guidance on Raac and chaired daily operational calls with ministers and senior officials, both in person and virtually, throughout the week.

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