ASCL comment on proposals for GCSEs, AS and A levels in Wales

29/10/2020
Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, and Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comment on the recommendations from Qualification Wales over next summer’s GCSEs, AS and A levels in Wales. 
 
Commenting on the recommendations from Qualification Wales over next summer’s GCSEs, AS and A levels in Wales, Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, said:
 
“We agree that exams cannot go ahead as normal in Wales next year, because it is clearly the case that there cannot be a level playing field with students disrupted by the impact of Covid to widely varying extents.
 
“However, we are concerned that Qualifications Wales has over-egged the pudding in terms of the sheer amount of assessment it is proposing instead of exams for GCSEs and AS levels, and in addition to them for A levels.
 
“If the Welsh government accepts these proposals, students will be doing little else other than assessment between now and next summer, when what they most need is space in the timetable for teaching.
 
“There is an alternative proposal from an independent review commissioned by the Welsh government to scrap exams entirely next year and award grades on the basis of moderated assessment.
 
“This needs to be carefully considered alongside the proposals from Qualifications Wales to achieve a solution that ensures assessment is proportionate and fair to all students in these extremely challenging circumstances.”



Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“The recommendations in Wales throw the spotlight on plans in England where the government has so far said that exams will go ahead next summer.
 
“We have repeatedly warned that these plans don’t go far enough to recognise the disruption to students.
 
“It is now clear that the scale of ongoing disruption caused by Covid is so severe that the idea of a full exam series in England must be in jeopardy.
 
“It is imperative that the government in Westminster sets out as soon as possible how it intends to ensure that grades are awarded fairly next year in these circumstances.
 
“Schools and students need to know whether there will be any form of alternative assessment and what this will look like, and the content of any timetabled exams has to take into account the fact that students will have been affected to widely varying extents.”