Commenting on contingency arrangements for exams in 2022, published today by the Department for Education and Ofqual, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This is the third year in a row that decisions about the contingency plans for GCSE, AS and A levels have been published. Yet again teachers and leaders have been left in limbo, teaching pupils who are in their final GCSE and A level years without knowing how they will be assessed if the exams cannot take place. The lack of urgency is shameful and an affront to parents, pupils and their teachers – all of whom needed to know, much earlier than today, how they would be assessed if the exam system fell over, as it did last year and the year before.

“It is regrettable that successive education ministers trot out the tired old line that ‘exams are the best and fairest method of assessment’. Saying so repeatedly does not make it true. The current qualification system has hugely narrowed the range of subjects taken at A level and left England at the top of the OECD international rote-learning league tables. Exams are good for assessing some things. Other forms of assessment, such as extended project work, are good for other competences and skills that young people will need in the 21st century.  It is time we had a proper debate about exams and it is time that the government engaged with the profession in this debate.”



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