Commenting on the publication today of “advanced information about the focus of the content of exams” in 2022, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

“The release of this 'advanced' information comes too late. There are grave concerns amongst teachers of exam groups that this will not be enough to fairly mitigate the disruption these students have experienced over two academic years. 

"The Government’s intention of releasing this information only in time for revision and not to aid teaching and learning, always carried with it a critical flaw. If one of the topics you see on the list today is one you couldn’t cover at all or in as much depth through no fault of your own, due to Covid-related disruption, what do you do now? There is just one half-term left until Easter, close to when exams begin, and little time to rush through any content. Yet this is the situation many students will face, which is going to create stress and pressure. 

"Had the information come at the start of the academic year, as NEU members were calling for, teachers could have used it to plan powerful learning and maximise classroom time. 

"The mental health and wellbeing impact for exam classes this year is really significant. This isn't a normal year. Many exam classes have needed supply teachers and students have learned from home for periods. It is hard to fathom why the DfE can't provide more support, flexibility and compassion for young people in how it has responded.  

"Last week both the Independent Assessment Commission and the Times Education Commission released reports highlighting flaws in the broken exam system. They concluded that secondary assessment must be modernised if we're serious about skills and creating citizens for the future. It’s time to rethink secondary assessment and to invest in - and value - teachers' assessment skills."