Today in the House of Commons, Munira questioned the government on the decision for next summer’s GCSE and A-Level examinations to go ahead.
In spite of all the challenges students have faced this school year, the Government is insisting that formal examinations are the fairest way to judge student performance this year.
This comes in spite of the fact that students have been forced to play catch up after months of lockdown and faced challenges such as teacher absences.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Munira said:
“Young people across this country, including Sophie, an A-Level student in my constituency, are extremely anxious about this year’s exams after last year’s fiasco, and due to the precious face-to-face teaching time lost in the first lockdown and to the self-isolation and teacher absences currently. So why won’t the Minister, please, listen to Sophie and follow the lead of the Liberal Democrat Education Minister in Wales by providing clarity and certainty now, by cancelling exams and moving to a robust teacher-led assessment? As Sophie said to me: “We are not lazy. We need your help.” Will the Minister listen to her, and help her?”
Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards, said:
“We listen to all opinions on this issue, but there is a broad consensus, including among unions and school leaders, that holding exams is the best option for next summer. That is the fairest and best way of judging students’ performance. But as I said earlier, we know that all students due to sit exams next year have experienced disruption to their education due to the pandemic, and that is why we are working closely with the school sector to ensure that clear contingency plans are in place for students who are ill or have to self-isolate. We are engaging widely on contingency plans and other measures to ensure that exams are fair this year.”
Following the exchange, Munira said:
“The Government’s refusal to listen to the extremely valid concerns of students, parents and teachers goes to show that their decisions on next summer’s exams are ill-informed.
The past year has proved exceptionally challenging for students. May have faced huge disadvantages and disruption to their learning. The contingency plans the Minister spoke about today simply do not provide clear reassurance for anxious students who feel their future is at stake. I will continue to push for more clarity for these students.”