Government urged to make decision on exams as school attendance in Wakefield drops to '80 per cent'

The government has been urged to make a decision on whether school exams should take place next summer.

Friday, 27th November 2020, 12:30 pm

It follows reports large numbers of Year 11 pupils in the Wakefield district are not in school because of Covid.

Councillor David Jones, the chair of the local education scrutiny committee, said attendances were currently down to around 80 per cent because of the pandemic.

GCSEs last summer were scrapped after the first lockdown forced schools to close.

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Students receiving their grades last August.

But ministers have yet to announce what will happen to exams next year, despite full-time education still being disrupted by Covid outbreaks.

Speaking at a meeting on Thursday, Coun Jones said: "When I'm seeing attendance rates around 80 per cent, rather than the 95 to 96 per cent mark - where they should be - I am concerned.

"I'm concerned about a decision being delayed on whether or not exams will take place.

"The disruption is significant and I'm hearing about large numbers of Year 11s absent either with Covid or self isolating.

"The government needs to act soon and make a decision on how pupils will be assessed so that schools can plan, not just for 16 year-olds, but for 18 year-olds and 11 year-olds too."

Last summer pupils were originally graded using a now infamous algorithm, which critics said penalised those from schools which had performed less well in the past.

The government eventually backed down over the issue, and allowed students to receive the grades they'd originally been predicted by their teachers.

Local Democracy Reporting Service