A Bushey headteacher has reassured students following the decisions to cancel GCSEs and A-Levels exams.
Lara Péchard, head at St Margaret’s School, has said that while many schools were expecting to have to turn to remote learning to provide continuous education, few were prepared for the complete elimination of all exams during this period, or the impact that would have on young people’s mental health and wellbeing during what is already an unsettling time.
She explained: “We are all dealing with the unpredictability of this pandemic and that is affecting students too. The irony is, in the past as teachers, we have often worried that summative exams are a demon for achieving mental wellness in our students, and yet now we face a much tougher challenge; the widespread impact on mental health for those young people who are now not taking the exams they were expecting to.
“The worry is, that a prolonged period like this will affect mind set, rhythms and routines for students, which will undoubtedly be much harder for some to regain, especially those more vulnerable students living in dysfunctional or challenging home environments. The question is, how can we ensure they will be mentally ready for the start of autumn?”
The school feels like the decision could have knock on effect for universities, as it is unknown how they select students fairly and whittle down numbers without the evidence of physical results.
They are now working on numerous approaches to support those students affected to ensure that young people have a purpose and still feel part of the school community and wider network in Year 11 and 13.
Ms Péchard also implied that universities can also help schools by reaching out with interim courses and also to check in on attainment as a prelim to university.
She added: “Young people who are about to embark on the next step in their educational journey, really do need our support now, as they face one of the biggest challenges in their lives to date.”