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NAHT comments on Sutton Trust poll and parental pressure on school staff over exam grades

Today the Sutton Trust has published a poll of school staff in which 17 per cent of teachers in state schools in affluent areas say that parents had approached or pressured them over their child’s exam grades this year. The same was true of just 11 per cent of teachers at state schools in poorer areas.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Without doubt, it has been an extremely difficult year for students and school staff. This has been exacerbated by late decisions by government on the alternative arrangements for awarding grades and the detailed guidance not therefore being published until the end of March. School and college staff then had little more than half a term to implement those processes.

“That said, students and their families have every reason to be confident in this year’s results, even though there have been no exams. The grades are based on the evidence – this is students’ work, which has been assessed and moderated by the people who know them best – their teachers. There are no algorithms this year, just human effort and human expert judgement. And this year’s grades were subject to quality assurance by the exam boards after teachers had submitted them.

“Parents should recognise the rigour of this year’s awarding processes and understand that it is inappropriate to put pressure on staff regarding their child's results.”

First published 29 July 2021