ASCL responds to 2021 exams plan

12/10/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to plans for GCSEs and A-levels in 2021 outlined by the Secretary of State for Education today.
 
Responding to plans for GCSEs and A-levels in 2021 outlined by the Secretary of State for Education today, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We are dismayed by this announcement. It has taken the government an eternity to reach a very inadequate response to the scale of the challenge which lies ahead for students who are taking GCSEs and A-levels next year.
 
“Delaying the start of exams by three weeks is of marginal benefit when compared to the loss of learning from the national lockdown and ongoing disruption. There isn’t enough being done to make the exams themselves fairer.
 
“Students need to be given greater choice over the topics they answer questions on so that they can select those which they have studied to sufficient depth. This is vital in addressing the fact that they will have had different learning experiences due to the Covid pandemic and ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to answer questions fully.
 
“We are also concerned that the government is only now engaging with the sector over back-up plans in the event that students are unable to sit exams next summer. This process should have been started a long time before now so that it is possible to put plans in place in good time. Instead, we will now be approaching Christmas before there is any clarity on contingency arrangements.
 
“The government has not moved quickly enough on this issue, and its response is so weak that it is inevitably storing up problems for the future.”