A levels in a time of Coronavirus

Congratulations to students across England who have received their results this morning – writing in The Daily Telegraph the Education Secretary has set out how the government's triple lock system will provide an additional safety net, ensuring confidence and fairness for young people.

  • Although Covid-19 has caused the cancellation of exams and has overshadowed the annual celebration of results day, the vast majority of students will be able to continue with their dreams of a place at university, an apprenticeship or training course, or starting a business or getting a job. 
  • In March, the government had no option but to close schools as part of the effort to protect the NHS and save lives but every young person waiting for their results wants to know they have been treated fairly, and that they won’t be disadvantaged through no fault of their own. 
  • That’s why the Education Secretary is introducing a triple lock to give students an added safety net. Students will be able to accept their calculated grade, appeal on the basis of a valid mock result or sit an exam in the autumn. We will ensure all outcomes are given the same weighting by universities, employers and colleges. 
  • The triple lock will provide an additional safety net to the system of calculated grades, which is the fairest possible approach in the absence of exams. The grades students receive today were based on the judgement of their school or college and moderated by exam boards to make sure the same standard is applied to all students. 
  • There is no perfect replacement for exams, but our plan will give everyone the confidence in these results and ensure fairness for all young people so that they can progress to the next stage of their lives. 


Anonymous said…
Covid-19 didn't 'cause the cancellation of exams' - this governments response to Covid-19 "caused the cancellation of exams".

It didn't have to be this way
Chris Whiteside said…
"It didn't have to be this way."

No, it could easily have been much worse.

And if the government had refused to act on the advice of SAGE and the overwhelming consensus of scientific and medical experts and closed the schools it probably would have been worse.

There was no perfect answer to this.
Anonymous said…
SAGE didn't give advice to cancel all exams - that was a government decision.
Chris Whiteside said…
SAGE and the government's senior scientific and medical advisors did advise closing the schools.

Once that advice had been followed, the logical consequence was that special measures would have to be taken in respect of exams.
Anonymous said…
Students sitting exams this year had finished their education, all that was left for them to do was revise and sit the exams. Revision could be done at home, and exams could have been taken as usual, all the exams I have ever sat were taken in a socially distanced manner.
Chris Whiteside said…
That simply isn't true.

Different schools put pupils forward for exams at different stages and no one model describes all of them, but there are certainly students who take public examinations at various stages well before the end of their school education - I took one or more public exam at the end of my fourth, fifth, lower sixth and upper sixth years.

Schools were closed well before the point by which all students who were taking public exams that year would have moved entirely over to revision.

The disruption to the education of all children this year, and especially those who were taking public exams, was such that some sort of special adjustment or alternative arrangement to exams was inevitable if there was to be even an attempt to to ensure something resembling fairness. And no easy way to do it.

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