Commenting as the Education Committee writes to the Secretary of State for Education on the cancellation of summer exams and the 2021 series, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“Poor planning caused misery for students this summer. It is true that it could have been avoided, and questions do need to be asked of Ofqual and the government. But the most important thing is that we act now to avoid a repeat of that chaos in 2021.
“While a delay to next summer’s exam series has been announced, that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the planning that still needs to be done. A delay does not address the disparity between the differential levels of disruption students have faced, or account for the fact that Covid-19 may still mean some students are unable to take their exams next summer.
“We are currently in a position where all the nations have different plans. Wales has decided the only possible option is to cancel all exams, Scotland has decided that they should cancel National 5’s and Northern Ireland has reduced the number of exams in many GCSE subjects. The government needs to explain how this mixed approach is justifiable and fair to all students.
“Schools and colleges need certainty now. They are operating in the dark. Just because exams aren’t in the calendar until next summer, it doesn’t mean we have until then to prepare. It is essential that we have clear and credible plans which cover the range of circumstances that could arise. Only that certainty will reassure students, teachers and leaders and begin to rebuild confidence in the system.”
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