Commenting on Labour's calls that a plan for 2022 exams is set out by September, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“September 1st is the absolute latest that information should be provided about qualifications in 2022. There still hasn’t been any detail nor a public consultation, and we are already in July. That is unacceptable.
"As the consultation must be at least two weeks long, and the government and Ofqual will then have to consider all responses, it is now almost certain that final proposals will come, at the earliest, in the summer holidays. That the consultation has not yet taken place, speaks to the Government's blatant and continued disregard for the workload of education professionals. Timely planning for teaching in the next academic year is surely essential.
"Any consultation must also consider contingency plans. The government has now failed multiple times to prepare contingencies in case exams cannot take place. No matter what your preferred Plan A, to refuse to prepare a Plan B in case exams cannot happen in the midst of a pandemic is sheer, wilful negligence. Government's blind faith meant that in 2021 education professionals were left to pick up the pieces, whilst being given no resources to free them up to actually do the work necessary for grading.
"Fortunately, the incredible efforts of students and educators alike have meant that every school and college’s grading procedure has been signed off by the exam boards. It has also meant it is now possible for samples of the evidence used for grades at every school and college in the country to be checked by the exam boards.
"The fact we are at this stage is almost miraculous but students and education professionals across the country should never have been put in this position in the first place. It is quite right that as a nation we should hope for the best outcome, but a Government must also plan for the worst. It is irresponsible to do otherwise. With no further information yet about 2022, we are seriously concerned that the Government is yet again pinning everything on hope."