politics

'Back-of-a-fag-packet stuff by Gavin Williamson over exams has got to end'


Like many parents across the country I sat apprehensively waiting to hear what Mr Williamson would tell us about what will replace cancelled GCSE exams.

My son is in year 11, the final year of secondary school and we both know how vital exams are for future jobs, staying on for sixth form or going to university. Yes they aren’t the be all and end all, but in the system in which we live, they are vitally important.

So I was disappointed when we learned absolutely nothing new. There was confirmation GCSEs and A Level exams were indeed cancelled, thanks Gav, I was expecting to hear something I didn’t know, and more than a headline grabbing quip about trusting teachers rather than algorithms.

But on the actual detail all we got was the exams are being replaced by some “form” of teacher assessment. Some form? What the heck does even mean? Why doesn’t he know what that is already and when are we going to find out?



exams
GCSEs and A-Levels will not happen again as normal this year but there doesn’t have to be a repeat of last year’s chaos



Gavin Williamson is underfire and facing calls to resign

This back-of-a-fag pack stuff has got to end. They’ve had the best part of a year to sort this out.

What happened to all of that “oven-ready” business Boris used to talk about? More like half-baked. They need to stop sticking their fingers in their ears singing ‘lalalala’ and get us out of this mess.

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Similar to most government decisions, all they are doing with their erratic approach to schools, is setting off a ticking time bomb which, while it won’t explode today, will inevitably blow up in the future.

We already know from the Children’s Commissioner, that in the first lockdown 25% of children on free school meals did less than one hour of schoolwork during the day. That’s a statistic our country should be ashamed of.

The dithering, indecision and constant u-turns are impacting a generation of children and playing havoc with their futures. By then this lot will be long gone and the sad reality is that it’s our children who will ultimately pay the price.



Eva Simpson’s son Joshua Okai

by Joshua Okai (Eva’s 15 year-old student son)

“I’ve wasted all my time revising.”

That’s the first thing I thought when watching Gavin Williamson confirming GCSEs have been cancelled for my year.

Now I’m perplexed – should I continue studying or stop? Is it worth me waking up early in the morning to study when I don’t know what I’m studying for?

I should have started my mock exams this week. I’ve been putting in lots of effort so I could pass them and show my potential. But now I’ve been robbed of that opportunity and my grades could be based on previous work in lockdown which doesn’t show what I am capable of.



Should I continue studying or stop?

Gavin Williamson said yesterday my year’s grades will be based on a form of teacher assessment but didn’t explain what that exactly means. This leaves me – and I’m sure most students in my year, very confused and anxious as we have no idea of how the teachers will come up with our grades.

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I worry how they will be awarded and how they will affect my whole future – all because I’m not able to take my exams.





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