ASCL comment on plans for 2021 exams

02/07/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the consultation published by Ofqual today about GCSEs, AS levels, and A levels in 2021
 
Commenting on the consultation published by Ofqual today about GCSEs, AS levels, and A levels in 2021, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“These plans appear to amount to little more than tinkering at the edges of next year’s exams, despite the massive disruption to learning caused by the coronavirus emergency.

“We note that exam boards are being asked about the implications of moving the start of the exam series to June and this may help if it proves possible, but it adds up to a few weeks more learning time to compensate for a shutdown which has lasted for four months.

“The young people who will take these exams have lost a huge chunk of face-to-face teaching time, and there is likely to be more disruption next academic year, with the possibility of localised full or partial closures in response to coronavirus outbreaks, and students who have to self-isolate.

“We understand that it is difficult to scale back exams in a way that is fair to all pupils, but we fear the very minor changes in this consultation fail to recognise the enormous pressure on schools and their pupils to cover the large amount of content in these courses.

“We are also extremely concerned that there does not appear to be any Plan B in the event of widespread disruption next year which would make it impossible to hold a full exam series. It is surely just a matter of common sense to have an alternate strategy in place.”