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Williamson must ensure no pupil is disadvantaged in exams by Covid-19 – Labour

Pic: David Davies/PA Wire

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor

Gavin Williamson must set out a plan to ensure pupils who have faced significant disruption to their education because of coronavirus are not unfairly disadvantaged in their GCSE and A-level exams, Labour has demanded.

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said thousands of pupils have missed out on essential learning because of the UK Government’s failure to “get a grip” on the pandemic.

She reiterated a call for the Education Secretary to ensure pupils are assessed on what they have been taught, have reserve papers for all subjects so self-isolating pupils do not miss out and put in place a plan B in case exams do not go ahead.

Labour also pointed to House of Commons research showing 8.7 million children face entering Tier 2 and 3 restrictions next week.

Ms Green said: “The UK Government’s failure to get a grip on this pandemic has meant thousands of pupils off school, missing out on essential learning.

“Instead of bringing forward a clear plan for next summer’s exams the Government has dithered and delayed, creating huge stress for pupils, teachers and parents.

“To ensure 2021 exams are truly fair to all pupils the Government should adopt Labour’s plan for greater optionality, reserve papers and regional adjustments to ensure no child misses out.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Labour is right to point to huge deficiencies in what the Government has so far said about exams for next summer.

“Thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of 16 and 18-year-olds and their parents deserve better than this.”

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