Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"Given the government’s overall policy of ‘living with Covid’ it is unsurprising that the Department for Education has announced an intention to return to full content coverage for 2023. Unlike for the past three summers, at least a decision has been announced in advance of the academic year for 2022/23 and so NEU members will welcome some certainty.
"However, the students taking exams in summer 2023 have not been unaffected by the pandemic, and if the last-minute decision making and lack of contingency planning for exams has shown us anything it is that the status quo is not something to desire a return to. There is high risk relying on one short time period for all the assessment to take place, never mind the mental health and wellbeing issues associated with the entirety of a grade resting on a few cliff-edge weeks at the end of a course.
"Ofqual and the government would do well to learn lessons from the pandemic and realise that the sum of what a student knows and can do can be more fairly assessed than by asking them to write down what they remember about a two or three-year course in 90 minutes one summer.
"It is right that the Department for Education and Ofqual have not ruled out the options of implementing other mitigations later in the year, but it is again disappointing that advanced information about exam topics is only seen as a revision tool. If pandemic disruption is such that it impacts on teaching and learning time, as was the case this year, then advanced information only in time for revision and not to help with the lost teaching and learning, is far less useful.”