As you will probably be aware, the Prime Minister announced that GCSE and A Level exams will not take place this summer in the normal way. In the coming days we will get details of what will replace them, but it seems reasonable to expect that students will receive grades based on a similar system to 2020. This involved teachers assessing students’ performance using classwork and homework, coursework, mock exams and other evidence.
I am aware of the shock and disappointment this news will bring. The government has consistently told students, parents and teachers that exams would happen this year and we all planned on that basis. Once the initial shock has worn off, however, I would urge you to consider these three points, as they aim to provide some reassurance.
1. Your hard work will still be recognised. None of the effort you have shown so far and continue to show in the coming months will be wasted. On the contrary, the system will make sure this is reflected in your final grade.
2. Your eventual results will be indistinguishable from real exams. In the long run, it won’t matter that your grades came from this system. You will still be able to progress to Sixth Form or to University in the normal way. The value of your GCSE and A Level qualifications is not being altered – only the way in which they are administered. None of your ambitions for the future will be affected by this decision.
3. The new system will be fair and balanced. Grades will be awarded based on objective evidence. Any grades that your teachers set will be moderated carefully, to ensure they are consistent within and between schools. If any student or parent were to be disappointed in the final grade, we expect there to be a mechanism to appeal and take follow up exams in the Autumn, just as there was in 2020.
I know that it is asking a lot of you all, on top of everything you have been through already, but you must take these points on board and keep going. Today you will be shocked and disappointed – anyone would be in your situation. In the coming days, however, you will process the news and in the long run you will be absolutely fine. Your teachers will guide and support you through the remainder of this year. For now, just turn to your online lessons, keep working hard and know that every piece of work you complete will still make a difference.
With every good wish