Following on from today's meeting with the Schools Minister on how to make next year's GCSE and A levels as fair as possible, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

‘Today’s meeting with the schools minister Nick Gibb and Ofqual was useful because the education unions were able to present the ideas in their joint paper to government*. It is clear that Ofqual is thinking hard about how next year’s GCSEs and A levels can be fair to students whose learning has been disrupted throughout the pandemic. Ofqual has asked for a further two weeks to come up with proposals.

The government, however, is not showing signs of thinking hard enough about the issues facing teachers and students.

Teachers, absolutely need to know what the format and content of GCSEs and A levels will be next summer Teachers invest huge amounts of work and care into preparing their students for these exams, because they are so important for students’ life chances. At present, they are in the dark – and this is causing them huge stress and anxiety which, had the government done its preparation, would not be necessary.

We are also very concerned that there is no plan B for students who are not able to take exams in the summer. Teachers should have begun this term knowing what forms of student assessment they needed to undertake to provide robust evidence for centre assessed grades. We cannot repeat this year’s scramble to locate this evidence – in the form of a ‘valid’ mock exam.

It is very troubling that government does not appear to have learned the lessons of this year when it comes to exams.

The danger of history repeating itself next year is all too obvious.’


Note to Editors

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Proposal for Awarding Exams Grades in 2021

Five education organisations, representing school leaders, teachers, and governors, have submitted a set of joint proposals to make next summer’s A-levels and GCSEs as fair as possible amidst the ongoing disruption of the Covid pandemic.