Commenting on the passing of motion 7 at the National Education Union’s Annual Conference, which is being held virtually, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The pandemic has exposed the flaws that exist when awarding GCSE and A-Level grades even in a normal year. Relying on assessment which takes place entirely at the end of the course and via just one method – examinations – is exceptionally high-risk and does not enable all students to demonstrate what they know and can do. Neither does awarding grades based on how a student has performed in comparison to others. This must change. Students surely deserve to be rewarded on the basis of their own merits.

“Having called on government to review this system, to no avail, the NEU is supporting an independent commission on assessment and qualifications, chaired by Professor Louise Hayward of the University of Glasgow, and looking to meet the future needs of students, teachers, our economy and our society.

“The government would do well to learn from its mistakes of the past two years, in which contingency planning was frankly non-existent, and start preparing now for a fair method of grading students in summer 2022. These students will also have missed significant proportions of their course and therefore many will not have had a chance to cover the full curriculum by the time their exams are due. The earlier that preparations are made, the fairer they will be for all.”