ASCL responds to autumn exam series decision

04/05/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on Ofqual’s decision that students who receive a teacher assessed grade this summer will be eligible to take exams in the autumn. 
 
Commenting on Ofqual’s decision that students who receive a teacher assessed grade this summer will be eligible to take exams in the autumn, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“The decision to run an autumn exam series owes more to public relations than it does to common sense.
 
“While running this series may seem like an extra safeguard for students who are unhappy with teacher-assessed grades this summer, it creates more problems than it solves.
 
“The whole point of cancelling public exams this summer was because the pandemic has affected the learning of students to varying extents. This will still be the case in the autumn and the idea of an exam series at that point in time is just as problematic as it would have been in the summer. It cannot possibly be a level playing field and those who were worst affected by the pandemic will still be at a disadvantage.
 
“At the same time, schools and colleges will be full with current students and the decision to run an exam series puts more pressure on them in terms of the staffing, organisation and space that is necessary.
 
“Given that the process for awarding teacher-assessed grades this summer will involve the opportunity for students to appeal, an autumn exam series seems entirely unnecessary.”