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The education secretary has defended going on holiday a week before the A-level exams controversy.

Gavin Williamson cancelled a key meeting to go on holiday in Scarborough – days before teenagers received their results, according to The Sunday Times.

In a message posted on Twitter, Mr Williamson defended the trip, writing: "I cancelled our family holiday abroad this year to focus on the challenges COVID-19 created for the education sector.

"Over the summer, I went to see family in Scarborough for the first time since lockdown, and while there I was in constant communication with the department."

It comes after education minister Gillian Keegan was criticised for sharing photos of herself in France as the results fiasco unfolded.

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Mr Williamson liked several of the pictures, The Mail on Sunday reported.

The education secretary has resisted calls to resign over a controversial algorithm that was initially used to grade A-level pupils whose exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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When the results were released it was revealed that nearly 40% of A-level marks had been downgraded in England.

Williamson: 'It was the right thing to do'

The system also appeared to advantage private schools, which saw nearly double the number of increases in top marks year-on-year compared to state comprehensives.

It was eventually scrapped in favour of teacher-assessed grades, with Mr Williamson telling Sky News earlier this week he was "incredibly sorry for the distress" the row had caused.

He said up until A-level results day he had "every confidence" the algorithm would not penalise disadvantaged students.

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