GCSE and A-level exams should be cancelled next summer, experts say

GCSE and A-level exams should be replaced with teacher assessments (Picture: Getty Images)

GCSE and A-level exams should be replaced with teacher assessments next year, scientists have said. 

Standardised tests cannot ‘run fairly’ when some schools have been affected worse than others, according to a report from The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Independent SAGE) – which says schools do not need the extra stress.

The group is calling for all primary school tests to be cancelled and for secondary school exams to be replaced with assessments by teachers with suitable moderation.

The Government should introduce a ‘blended learning’ approach – a mix of on-site and home-based learning – in secondary schools in areas with high levels of infection, the guidance document says.

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GCSE and A-level exams have already been cancelled in Wales but remain in England,

Independent Sage said in a report: ‘Children and young people at school tend to have a wide transmission circle which can endanger parents and grandparents.

GCSE and A Levels have already been cancelled in Wales (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Whilst wishing to minimise disruption to children’s education, stricter guidelines are urgently needed for reducing opportunities for infection.’

It adds: ‘The present situation in many of the worst affected schools and communities is characterised by confusion, secrecy, mistrust, fear, demoralisation and exhaustion.

‘The pressures have now been exacerbated by a Government ban on schools rearranging holidays or switching to a mixture of on-site and home-based learning.’

The Government should introduce a ‘blended learning’ approach, experts say (Picture: Getty Images)

It comes as the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that only secondary school-aged children in England have seen a rise in Covid-19 infection rates.

Recent Department for Education (DfE) figures show that nearly three in four (73%) secondary schools in England have had at least one pupil self-isolating at home last week due to potential contact with coronavirus.

More than one in five (22%) of secondary school pupils were absent from class on November 19 compared with 17% the week before, the Government statistics show.

The Government has said schools will remain open in all areas of England under the tougher tier system – and schools and colleges have been told not to change their Christmas holidays or close early this term.

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