Nick Brook, Deputy General Secretary of school leaders’ union, NAHT said: “In the face of a worsening situation, it is right to prioritise keeping pupils in school. But the government needs to be wholly transparent about the risks to children, families and school staff of doing so, and give clear guidance on what additional measures schools may have to take in order to keep everyone safe.
“It is highly likely that the number of pupils that are unable to attend school will continue to increase until the rate of infection begins to fall again. Schools will do everything they can to deliver a full and interesting curriculum to pupils who are asked to remain at home.
“Comparison of attendance rates between primary and secondary schools since September suggests that older children have been more affected by the rise in infections. Unfortunately, that means that pupils in examination years are most likely to have their education disrupted as this situation continues.
“Yet despite best efforts, online education is proving to be a poor substitute teacher. Put simply, children learn best when in school. At a time when we should be talking about how best to support pupils to catch-up lost learning, we are instead faced with the challenge of ensuring that they do not fall even further behind.
“Government now need to accept that reliance upon a summer series of exams in 2021 is a wholly inadequate solution. We must be confident that the continued disruption to education this year does not result in the award of grades that do not fairly reflect students true ability. Future opportunities and life-chances of 16 and 18 year olds must not be limited as a result of government dithering.”
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