A large group of school principals have called for the GCSE and A-level exams to be canceled this summer amid the chaos over plans to reopen schools this month.
Most elementary schools in England are slated to open on Monday, followed by a staggered start for secondary schools a week later, with GCSE and A-level students returning first.
Thousands of elementary schools are said to remain closed at the hardest hit coronavirus hotspots, however, as infection rates rise and a new variant of Covid spreads quickly – the full list of schools affected can be found here
Schools in 49 of the Tier 4 areas are closed to all but key workers and vulnerable children until at least January 18.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson insists that the national summer exams have yet to take place.
More than 2,000 school principals from the Worthless? However, say students, parents and teachers shouldn’t be exposed to the risk of getting Covid to protect the exam schedules.
“Greater public health, the safety of students and staff should take precedence over exams,” said WorthLess principals. were quoted in the Sunday Times.
“Public safety should not be compromised or driven by an inflexible pursuit of GCSE and high school diplomas.”
One of the group leaders, Jules White, director of Tanbridge House School in Horsham, West Sussex, said there was “great skepticism that exams can now be conducted fairly”.
Instead, the group recommends teacher ratings for final grades, saying it would be unfair for students to take exams in areas more affected by the pandemic than others.
Official Times data shows that 62% of students in Medway, Kent, failed to attend school in the last week of November because they were either self-isolating or ill. However, in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, it was only 8%.
Former Education Secretary Lord Baker said teachers should be allowed to provide a school leaving assessment of students’ performance – taking into account factors such as the number of days missed – instead of taking exams.
“They (teachers) are better than algorithms and they are the only people who can potentially judge their students’ performance at this extraordinary time,” said Lord Baker.
Matt Hood, director of the online Oak National Academy, which the government hired to create online classes for teachers, said around one million children were forced to use their parents’ cell phones to study because they didn’t have a phone or laptop.
However, some parents could not afford the additional data fees and had to prevent their children from studying, which in turn highlighted the differences among students across the country.