Commenting on today’s release of GCSE results, and the delay in vocational and technical qualifications, David Evans, Wales Secretary for the National Education Union Cymru said:

"Schools and colleges stepped up in challenging circumstances when exams were cancelled. They have worked tirelessly and professionally to submit grades for their students, based on all the evidence available to them, their experience and sound professional judgement. Teachers know their students better than any model or algorithm and it will be a relief to many that the grades they receive are now a fairer reflection of their achievements. We therefore welcome that the Education Minister has apologies and said she will be launching an independent review.

“To add to the GCSE and A level fiasco, the decision by Pearson not to issue BTEC results at the eleventh hour compounds the upsetting and chaotic experience for students. Welsh Government must now work quickly to ensure every young person gets the grades they deserve to move onto the next stages of their lives. 

"Serious questions remain as to what will happen next year and beyond. Welsh Government and Qualifications Wales must learn from 2020 and start listening to the professionals, who have said very clearly that the plans for next year are not sufficient. With many months of learning lost for these students, exam content for next summer must be further reduced. Without this, the exams will become more a measure of how long individual students were in lockdown or whether they had access to learning at home as opposed to what they are capable of. 

"In any normal year, an over-reliance on exams can increase student anxiety and fails to give a fair reflection of what students can achieve. Due to the fact exams are sat at a specific time and date, if a student is ill or experiences anything else which could affect their performance, this can also unfairly impact on their grade. We hope that the Curriculum and Assessment legislation will take a look at this and ensure that qualifications for young people in the future take a full account of their potential.”

ENDS

Press contacts:

The National Education Union is an amalgamation of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and National Union of Teachers (NUT), formed on 1 September 2017. Please see the below contact details for assistance:

Contact: David Evans, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818.  Mob: 07815 071164.

e-mail: david.evans@neu.org.uk

Note to editors:

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges to form the largest education union in Wales.
  • The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.