GCSE and A-level exams should be marked more generously to mitigate against the teachers’ strike and on-going effects of Covid, state school headteachers have said, The Times reports.
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which consulted schools across the north of England, has written to regulator Ofqual calling for it to take a different approach to this year’s cohort, which will be the first to be marked “normally” since 2019.
Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse, said: “Not only did this year’s exam candidates lose lessons in the pandemic, many teenagers have not returned to school full time and behaviour in schools is much worse than it was.
“On top of that, they have had teacher strikes this year which closed some schools but not others, notwithstanding the promise by the biggest teachers’ union to reduce the impact on children.
“Head teachers — and we have consulted scores of school leaders in the north before writing to Ofqual — are now really worried for the results in GCSEs and A-levels this summer and the life chances of some of these youngsters.”
Experts say that if Ofqual does not agree to change its stance, 50,000 fewer A*s, and about 30,000 fewer A grades, will be awarded at A-level, compared with 2022. This would mean many teenagers missing out on their offers to top universities.
For GCSEs, around 250,000 fewer top grades will be awarded this summer compared with last year, according to Dennis Sherwood, a former consultant to Ofqual, who analysed official data.
Andrew O’Neill, the head at All Saints Catholic College in west London, said: “We are now seeing the pastoral impact of the pandemic in full force: attendance is extremely low. In schools we have learnt that the manifestations of trauma, grief and disillusionment don’t appear straight away. It takes time for the impact of the event to come to the surface.”