Exams Fiasco Continues as Government Spins and U-Turns

Time to listen to your teachers

Following some quite sensational ineptness on the part of the Tory Government followed by a series of humiliating U Turns and leaving a trail of tearful and devastated students in it’s wake ,the Government, along with the futures of Britains students, is in a mess. Commenting on the decision, Hannah Packham, South West Regional Secretary of the National Education Union, said:  “Gavin Williamson has, finally, done the right thing. The pity is that he has done so having exhausted all other options. Students and their teachers have endured days of completely unnecessary stress and worry. For many students, this announcement will generate further uncertainty if they have been rejected from their first-choice course, and university, on the basis of the inaccurate and unjust Ofqual awarding process. Young people have suffered enough. They have few chances in the jobs market as the country faces rising unemployment and recession. Gavin Williamson should now announce that the cap on university places is lifted, so that more young people, who have worked so hard for their A Levels, can continue their studies and fulfil their potential. “

Hannah Packham -Regional Secretary NEU

One of many lessons for Government to learn from this sorry saga is maybe to now listen to the profession. The Department for Education’s determination to put all eggs in one basket through a single set of summer exams has come back to haunt them. It is very much a disaster of their own making.

The NEU statement concludes “This is a shameful episode. It must never happen again. The u-turn in Scotland includes a long-term review of the assessment methods used to award qualifications, including the possibility of more coursework and systematic, moderated teacher assessment, and it is critical that the same occurs in England.   We not only need a careful and systematic review, but an absolute assurance to next year’s GCSE and A-Level students that this cannot and will not happen again.” 

Listen to the Teachers

Cllr Mick Lerry ‘the unfairness of the system heightens the equality gap’

Bridgwater Labour Councillor Mick Lerry (Labour Victoria)  a member of the NEU, supports the statement saying “The National Education Union is quite right to state that the Government should learn the lesson and listen to the Teachers, Lecturers, Schools and Colleges. There is a complete lack of trust with the profession, when it comes to Government’s approach to education and qualifications. Since March the Government has known that examinations would not take place, because of Covid-19, yet it failed to take control. Again, whether it is about testing and tracing, children returning to school or NHS staff having to pay for treatment, the public has seen U-turn after U-turn. This is a Government where Ministers are incapable of managing events and only capable of blaming others for their poor decisions.”

Mick continued “The Examination system has always been under question, because of the algorithm used by Ofqual to down grade results. Students are not assessed on the criteria reference of the subjects they study; they are assessed by Ofqual on the school they go to and other students. The reason for this, is the Government and Ofqual do not trust teacher assessment. Students and pupils have been put through real hardship, by losing valuable education time and having their grades downgraded, only for the system to change again by accepting teacher predicted grades. The Government even refused to accept what eventually happened in Scotland, which again was a wake-up call. There now needs to be a real change to the way that pupils and students are assessed for their qualifications, the pandemic has highlighted the unfairness of this system, that increases the inequality gap. Gavin

Cllr Brenda Weston

Williamson MP will possibly survive the Examination fiasco the same way that Cummings was able to breach Covid-19 regulations. It appears that the Prime Minister is prepared to tolerate incompetence and allow events to show how he is unable to lead his Government. If he continues to stumble on with Ministers unable to listen, then 2024 could be the Prime Minister’s final assessment.”

Councillor Brenda Weston (Taunton Priorswood, Labour) added “I think his resignation is required!”

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