The Workers Party has submitted its views on proposals for changes to next year’s GCSE and GCE examinations.
Following the disastrous handling of this year’s exam grades the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) announced a public consultation on proposed changes to next summer’s GCSE and GCE exams.
The Party’s submission began by acknowledging the disruption and distress experienced by pupils, teachers, support staff, parents, and all those involved in the administration of the education system by Covid 19.
It also stressed the importance of listening to and acting on the advice of teachers, pointing out that the failure to do so earlier this year was a major factor in the grades fiasco affecting this year’s results.
Working class disadvantage
The submission also highlighted the disadvantage confronting many children from working class households. Many homes lack any internet connectivity, others lack IT equipment, or an available device may be shared among several children.
Acknowledging that there are difficulties in planning now for next year when conditions may be significantly different, the Party’s submission identified a number of key principles which it said should underpin any proposed changes:
- all pupils should have the opportunity to perform to their optimum
- the equality impact on pupils from areas of high social deprivation and /or low-income families must be factored in and addressed
- practical support in the form of broadband access and laptop / tablets must be available equally to all pupils engaged in on-line learning
- acknowledgement of the extent of lost teaching time to date and the unfair burden that may place on pupils
- that all changes are clear, equitable and effectively communicated
In supporting proposals to reduce the number of units and assessments the Party’s submission stressed that this should be done across the entire range of subjects. All language subjects should therefore be open to reductions in the amount of material being taught and in the number of exams set, the submission argued.