Schools should have a plan-B in place “before Christmas” for GCSE and A-Level exams for next summer

Schools should have a plan-B in place “before Christmas” for GCSE and A-Level exams for next summer, as a report warns Covid infection rates remain high both locally and nationally.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 7:03 am

If exams are unable to take place in 2022, exams watchdog Ofqual and the Department for Education have said a teacher assessment grade process, similar to the one used last year, should be used.

That’s according to a report by Leeds City Council officers, which claims that schools should be prepared for such an outcome, as the situation around Covid infections remains uncertain.

It added: “Centres should plan assessment opportunities for teacher assessment grades in advance, for example, before Christmas, to protect against further disruption.

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If exams are unable to take place in 2022, exams watchdog Ofqual and the Department for Education have said a teacher assessment grade process, similar to the one used last year, should be used. Getty.

“They should provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding across the whole range of content they have been taught. Centres are warned against over-assessing, with a recommendation being that they assess once per term.”

As things stand, schools will be allowed to deliver practical work in GCSE and A-Level biology, chemistry, physics, combined science, geology and astronomy, while exam boards will carry out “remote monitoring” of schools’ use of practical assessments.

Students taking GCSE, AS and A-Level art and design will be assessed on their portfolios only.

Exam boards are also expected to provide information in advance for the focus of all subjects except English literature, history, ancient history and geography for the summer 2022 exams.

Further information will be provided to schools by February 2022, to allow teachers to alter their lessons for the second half of the spring term if needed.

The report concluded: “There still remains the concern that there are high rates of Covid infection both nationally and locally.

“This means that learning is being interrupted by both pupil and teacher absence. This has not yet led to a closure of any secondary school or secondary year group.

“If this situation worsens, and exam age pupils miss large amounts of schooling, this issue will be raised with the DfE through the regular meetings which take place with the department’s representatives and the local authority.”

The report will go before members of Leeds City Council’s children and families scrutiny board on Wednesday, November 3.

Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporting Service