ASCL response to consultation on exams in 2022

29/07/2021
Tom Middlehurst, Curriculum and Inspection Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the consultation on adaptations to GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022.
 
Responding to the consultation on adaptations to GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022, Tom Middlehurst, Curriculum and Inspection Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“Broadly, we support these proposals and welcome the consultation exercise with education leaders that has been carried out by the government.  We are pleased that the government is proposing to enable more choice in the questions students answer in some subjects, such as English literature and history, though we would have liked to see this extended to more subjects.
 
“To assist young people facing exams in 2022, it is right that exam boards will provide advance information about the content for the majority of GCSE, AS and A level assessments in the spring term. And it is also right that, if there is continued disruption to learning during the early part of the new academic year, there is flexibility to release this information to schools and colleges earlier.
 
“However, it is unacceptable and deeply disappointing that important lessons on contingency planning have not been learnt from the past year by the government. This consultation does not include contingency arrangements should exams next summer have to be cancelled and schools, colleges and students will start the autumn unclear about what the government’s plans are in this scenario.
 
“Indecision last year placed considerable stress, anxiety and workload on school and college leaders, teachers, students and parents. We implored the government repeatedly during the autumn of 2020 to come up with a contingency plan but they ignored this, only to then cancel exams just a few months before they were due to take place. We simply cannot afford a repeat of that in 2022.
 
“Our young people have been hit very hard by the disruption to education caused by Covid-19 and it is crucial that they and their teachers know the outcomes of this consultation as early as possible. There is still uncertainty as we emerge from the pandemic but our students deserve to have as much information as possible from the government as they begin a critical year in their education.”