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Labour demands a plan for 2022 exams with lost school time

LABOUR is calling on the government today to prepare plans for the 2022 school exams, as figures show that Year 10 pupils have already missed one in eight days of face-to-face teaching.

Per secondary pupil, 43 days of education has been missed, equating to 13 per cent of a two-year GCSE course, according to government figures.

As pupils returned to their classrooms last week, Schools Minister Nick Gibb confirmed that exams will go ahead in 2022 for GCSE, A-level and vocational students, but he failed to give any details for teachers looking to make up for teaching time lost by pupils. 

At a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament today, shadow schools minister Wes Streeting will urge the government not to repeat the mistakes that it has made this year.

He will urge ministers to work with exam boards and the wider education sector to urgently deliver an examination system that is genuinely fair to all pupils next summer.

Labour warned that pupils’ experience of learning during the pandemic has varied significantly as children in different regions experienced varying levels of Covid-19 disruption before Christmas.

Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) general secretary Geoff Barton said: “There will need to be adaptations to exams in 2022 to recognise lost learning during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It is imperative that the government plans early and well and that it does not spend months dithering in the way that it did over the arrangements for this summer’s qualifications. 

“The crucial thing is to first understand the scale of learning loss affecting next year’s exams cohort and then make sure that the adaptations put in place are sufficient in ensuring fairness to candidates.”

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"We support Labour's call for early planning for exams in 2022. In January this year, Gavin Williamson stated clearly to Parliament that Government contingency plans for this summer's exams just needed to be 'fine-tuned'. Yet with less than three months until thousands of grades must be finalised, moderated and submitted to exam boards, teachers are still waiting for guidance on what evidence will count and what school moderation processes will be acceptable. This shocking lack of planning cannot be allowed to happen again.

Students taking exams next summer need to know now how those exams will be assessed and on what content. It is even more important for students taking vocational qualifications, many of which are assessed at earlier points during the year. Teachers and their students deserve better from this Government than to have decisions made at the last minute."

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