Monday 5 July 2021 / 10:30 PM Education / Kate Green

Labour demands plan for 2022 exams by September as analysis reveals year 10 pupils have missed one in four days of GCSE teaching this year

Labour is today [Tuesday] demanding the Government set out plans for 2022 assessments by the return to school on 1 September, as new analysis reveals that the average year 10 pupil has missed one in four days of face-to-face GCSE or BTEC teaching this year.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Education Select Committee that changes will be made to next year’s exams but has given no further details.

At an Edge Foundation event on reforming assessments, Shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green MP will set the deadline of 1 September for clarity on 2022 assessments while urging Conservative Ministers not to repeat the mistakes of the last two academic years.

Green will restate Labour’s concerns about ‘striking inconsistencies’ in the process that schools and colleges have used to assess pupils’ grades after the Government failed to provide clear direction on what work should be used.

At a Labour roundtable on exams last month, year 11 and 13 students talked of the frustration and stress they have felt about this year’s assessment process, including seeing friends at other schools or colleges having very different grading processes.

A-level student Ethan said: “guidance wasn’t given till so late on and the fact everyone has had a different experience, being left in the dark just shows the extent of the inequality across education.”

Fellow A-level student, Aga highlighted the lack of guidance coming from Government to schools left teachers stressed and unable to support their students: “honestly I felt sorry for teachers too because I know a lot of mine were frustrated with the lack of clear guidance. They wanted the best for us but had to wait for instructions”.

Green will urge Ministers to work with exam boards and the education sector urgently to deliver system that is genuinely fair for all pupils next summer. She will also call for the Government to set out a comprehensive recovery plan which would help to level the playing field for the pupils who have missed most learning.

Labour has launched a recovery plan which would enable all young people to bounce back from the pandemic. Under Labour’s plan all pupils who need it would be able to access tutoring with additional academic help targeted at pupils on free school meals who are most likely to have missed school and struggled to learn remotely over the last year.

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

“The Conservatives’ poor planning and preparation has created a second year of exam chaos.

“Uncertainty just piles pressure on pupils and teachers, so the longer ministers dither and delay, the harder it will be to set a level playing field and ensure every pupil gets fair grades.

“Ministers need to learn from their mistakes and set out a plan by the time pupils return to school in September.”