ASCL comment on Education Secretary’s statement

01/09/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the statement by the Secretary of State for Education on qualification results and school openings for the autumn term.
 
Commenting on the statement by the Secretary of State for Education on qualification results and school openings for the autumn term, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

We are surprised that the Secretary of State did not provide any more information about next year’s GCSE, A-level and other qualifications. He appeared to say at one point that the government supported delaying the exam series to a later date than normal, but we are not aware of any decision having been made to this effect

More importantly, there is still no contingency plan in the event that students are unable to sit exams next summer, or if their preparation is so disrupted that they will be at a significant disadvantage. This could be addressed by having some form of assessment in the autumn and spring terms on which grades could be based if students are unable to sit exams. However, it is vital that the government and Ofqual set out any plans at the earliest possible date so that schools, colleges, and students are able to prepare accordingly.

We have also repeatedly called for a review of what went wrong with this year’s grading system. One of the reasons why such a review is needed is to learn lessons from the mistakes that were made this year and to ensure they are not repeated.

On the reopening of schools and colleges, this is clearly a big step forward in terms of national recovery, which is being led with great commitment and determination by school and college leaders and their staff. It is hugely disappointing that the government has refused to support them by providing funding to cover the significant cost of safety measures and has instead said it must come out of hard-pressed budgets.