GCSE and A-level exams in England are to be scrapped this year in favour of assessed grades, and primary school SATs for year 6 children has also been cancelled. Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson has told MPs, the government would “put our trust in teachers, rather than algorithms Teachers’ estimated grades will be used to replace cancelled GCSEs and A-levels in England this summer”,
Commenting on the confirmation in the Commons that SATs this year are not going ahead, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said, “Teachers and parents will be relieved that Gavin Williamson has faced up to reality and cancelled this year’s SATs tests. With the pressures of SATs lifted, schools will have some space to address the urgent issues of educational recovery. Pupils are going to need long-term support for their learning. A curriculum-driven by tests was never the way to do this. Now is the time to encourage and resource schools to develop a rich and engaging curriculum.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, schools have been working to care for children’s wellbeing and to engage them in learning.
The cancellation of tests and the focus on teacher assessment are welcome. Removing the pressure of tests will free up time for teaching the broad and rich curriculum which children need now more than ever.
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