Sunday 29 November 2020 / 10:30 PM Education / Kate Green

Labour calls for credible plan for exams as over 8 million children face tier two and three restrictions

Labour is calling on the Government to set out a credible plan for GCSE and A-level exams as new data from the House of Commons Library shows that over 8.7 million children face entering tier two and three restrictions.

Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green has demanded that Gavin Williamson set out a plan that makes sure pupils who have faced significant disruption to their education are not unfairly disadvantaged in 2021 GCSE and A-level exams, ensuring no child is left behind.

Pupils have faced mounting disruption to their education as the Government’s failure to get a grip on the pandemic has forced many to self-isolate away from school, missing out on valuable in person teaching. Official data shows that last week there were nearly a million pupils out of school because of coronavirus.

While children have been forced to self-isolate at home, the Government has cut their promised allocation of laptops and equipment to some schools by 80%, leaving disadvantaged pupils without the technology needed to learn remotely.

Labour wrote to Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, earlier this month calling for:

  • Greater optionality in questions for A-Level and GCSE exams, to ensure pupils are assessed on what they have been taught;
  • Reserve papers to be made available in all subjects, so that self-isolating pupils do not lose out unfairly;
  • The government to ensure a level playing field for every region of the country;
  • The government to put place a credible Plan B so that pupils can get their grades even if there is significant disruption that means exams do not go ahead.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, said:

“The Government’s failure to get a grip on this pandemic has meant thousands of pupils off school, missing out on essential learning.

“Instead of bringing forward a clear plan for next summer’s exams the government has dithered and delayed, creating huge stress for pupils, teachers and parents.

“To ensure 2021 exams are truly fair to all pupils the government should adopt Labour’s plan for greater optionality, reserve papers, and regional adjustments to ensure no child misses out.”