Education policy

Spare a thought for students

Spare a thought for those due to sit their A-Levels next summer. They have already had considerable disruption to their education. But today’s announcement that this year’s A-Level grades will be done by teacher assessment risks compounding their misfortune.  It means that the current lower sixth will be competing for university places — and jobs — against those who have received teacher assessed grades, which are bound to be more generous than those that an exam would produce. (For all sorts of understandable reasons, teachers will want to give their pupils the benefit of the doubt when awarding potentially life-changing marks). The disadvantage the current lower sixth cohort is being put

Why aren’t exams going ahead?

When Boris Johnson talked about trusting teachers, I suspected that the government must be desperate. Trust is not a word I have head much in my 25-year teaching career. I am no longer trusted to go into a GCSE exam hall to look at the paper that my class is sitting in case I somehow manage to undermine the integrity of the exam. But that was 2019. This morning Gavin Williamson confirmed that this year, it will come down to me and my colleagues in school. There will be no exam papers, no external markers, and certainly no algorithms. Before the pandemic we weren’t even trusted to mark coursework for