Socially-distanced exams: they won’t mean anything if school pupils can’t be guaranteed a full education in the 2020-21 academic year – and they can’t.
Days after it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s government was issuing contradictory demands to schools and had made no decision on next year’s exams, the Welsh government has shamed him.
School pupils in Wales will not take GCSE or A-level exams in 2021; instead, pupils’ futures will be decided by teacher-managed assessments, according to Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams.
This Writer knows Ms Williams personally; she’s my Assembly Member. We have collaborated on some political projects – and we’ve also clashed, because her politics isn’t the same as mine.
That said, she is clearly right on this: “It is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.”
What a contrast with the dithering and confusion of Boris Johnson, as reported by This Site on Saturday (November 7):
After the Times Educational Supplement revealed that the government hasn’t even bothered to plan the school year in advance, taking into account the possibility of Covid-19 interference in next year’s exams, it turns out that staff are working flat-out to accommodate contradictory demands from the Department for Education, some being changed within hours
And Johnson is still dithering!
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said there were no plans for England to follow Wales. He said: “There’s no change in our own position in relation to exams. We’ve set out that they will take place slightly later this year, to give students more time to prepare. We continue to think that exams are the fairest way of judging a student’s performance.”
Perhaps he’s kidding himself that he is being strong by ignoring the ridicule he’s getting.
Perhaps he’s simply taking an opportunity to build more inequality into the education system – state-educated English school pupils will now be at a further disadvantage in comparison with those who are educated privately – or in one of the other UK countries.
The latter possibility should not surprise anybody after Dominic Raab’s bid to penalise millions of exam-takers across the UK for being educated by the state, earlier this year.
Experts are insisting that a level playing-field cannot be guaranteed, in line with Ms Williams’s statement.
How long will Boris Johnson insist on letting English education slide?
Source: Welsh move to cancel GCSE and A-level exams puts pressure on No 10 | UK news | The Guardian
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