GCSE results: Contingency plan needed to avoid future exams chaos – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union.

There has been much debate about this week's A-Level results as students at Boston Spa Academy celebrate their results. Photo: Tony Johnson.

sTUDENTS, teachers and school leaders have worked extremely hard to secure this year’s results in the face of unique and hugely difficult circumstances.

School and college staff deserve recognition of the huge pressures and additional workload they have faced in producing centre assessed grades and young people deserve praise for the tenacity they have shown in dealing with the huge uncertainties and anxieties of the last 18 months.

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The challenges of the awarding process this year were significantly exacerbated by ministerial delays in drawing up contingency plans.

There has been much debate about this week's A-Level results.

Whilst schools have done a tremendous job in picking up the pieces left by Ministers’ last-minute decision-making, many teachers were left running on empty with teacher workload at breaking point at the end of last term. We cannot afford a repeat of this confusion and chaos for yet another year.

In looking ahead to plans for qualifications in 2022, the NASUWT has made it clear to Ministers and regulators that mitigations and contingency plans will still be needed.

Such mitigations should include a slimmed down package of subject content and the provision of a choice of subject topics across all subjects and qualifications to help reduce the pressures on pupils and teachers and reflect the impact of the disruption to their learning pupils have faced over the last 18 months.

Teachers and young people need a system for next year’s qualifications which is realistic and responsive to the continuing challenge of the pandemic on students’ education.

From: Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director.

REGARDLESS of the outcome, young people should remember that qualifications are just one of the factors employers look at when recruiting. Businesses value the resilience students have demonstrated throughout the pandemic enormously, alongside skills like creativity and teamwork.

It’s fantastic to see uptake of maths, computing and sciences increase, with students performing well. As digitisation and automation change how we work, equipping young people with these skills will help them succeed, and ensure firms can reap the benefits of new technologies. Having a balanced curriculum that broadens young people’s horizons is valued by employers as a way of developing skills like creativity and strong communication.

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