04:30PM, Thursday 07 January 2021
Furze Platt Senior School headteacher Andrew Morrison
Students taking GCSE and A Level exams this year have received final confirmation that these exams will be cancelled.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson told the House of Commons that the Government would be using teacher assessed grades for exam students instead – in contrast to previous methods of grade calculation from last year, which many pupils felt to be unfair.
“We are putting our trust in teachers, rather than algorithms,” said Mr Williamson.
Before Wednesday schools did not know for sure if exams would be cancelled as there were no official statements from either Ofqual or the Department for Education (DfE).
Speaking before the announcement, academic principal at Claires Court school James Wilding said they were conscious that the uncertainty may be adding to the anxiety of students in their examination years.
Over at Furze Platt Senior School, headteacher Andrew Morrison was among those taking a cautious approach to news of potential exam cancellations.
Before the announcement, the school sent out letters to students due to sit exams this year, telling them to hold on and keep going as usual.
“The essence of my communications with my Year 13s is that it’s hard but we have to keep going at the moment,” Mr Morrison said before the announcement.
“You’ve got to feel for the students – we have been encouraging them to work hard while the Government was saying exams were going to happen, so this news is hard for them.
“It’s hard for anyone to be in that position. It’s demotivating. They have made it through lockdown and isolations and now they might have that moment at the end of the course taken away from them.”
He said that in some ways things have not changed since he wrote to Gavin Williamson a few weeks ago expressing concern about the inconsistency of education created by the pandemic.
“Some students haven’t had any time off while some have had lots and that’s a real worry. It creates mental health as well as academic challenges,” he said.
Cathrin Thomas headteacher of Cox Green School said the announcement regarding exams has been ‘a further disappointment’ on top of closure.
“However, our Y11 and Y13 students continue to impress us with their positivity, determination and work ethic,” she said.
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