The headteacher at St Margaret’s school in Bushey has spoken out about the extra measures announced by the Department of Education around 2021 GCSE and A Level exams, which have been designed to boost fairness and support for students.
Headteacher, Lara Péchard, welcomes the clarity around examinations next year, ahead of the Christmas break and subsequent mock period but is still wary about the future.
Despite being happy about the announcement, she warned that although raising grade boundaries to match the 2020 awards is a kindness for current examination groups, the changes could raise questions about the future of GCSEs.
She explains: “In the main, this is excellent news for students. It’s clear that mental health and continuity of education has been the key driver for the extra measures and that can only be a positive thing. It does, however, raise further questions around the future and validity of GCSEs, which brings us onto the next ‘uncertainty’.
“How will this impact current Year 10 students who will be taking their exams in 2022? Can they expect the same generous grades and foresight into exam paper topics, given the likelihood that disruption caused by the pandemic will be around for a while yet?”
The school itself intends to keep focused on current advice but is preparing its students and staff for both CAG and exams while continuing to collate an evidence trail of assessments.
Although like many other Heads, Ms. Péchard wants to believe there will be no further U-turns in the decisions around exams, but one thing last summer has confirmed is that nothing is ‘definite’.
She added: “The truth is, the majority of students want to sit exams. Of course, there continues to be anxiety around COVID-19, around contracting the virus and the impact that will have on schooling, but at least we have some indication of the avenues available to students.
“Clearly, understanding more about the content and choices on exam papers going forward, will need to be very carefully looked at.”