As the UK prepares for a lockdown in unprecedented circumstances, a great deal of uncertainty surrounds education – particularly for students who were gearing up for their GCSE’s and, A levels.
It was announced last week that upcoming A level, and GCSE exams for the summer would be cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far claimed the lives of 422 people in the UK, and infected 8,077.
The decision taken by the government has left teachers, parents, and pupils all uncertain of what this means in terms of how grades will be awarded.
Adrian de Souza who teaches at Sackville School near East Grinstead in West Sussex said “My jaw nearly dropped at that point (hearing of exam cancellations)” he also described students reactions to the news “the majority (of students) were shocked to begin with, and a lot were bitterly disappointed because they’d worked so hard”.
The government has stated that their “priority is to ensure affected students can move on to the next stage of their lives” and that “this means GCSE, AS and A level students are awarded a grade that fairly reflects the work they put in”.
“the majority (of students) were shocked to begin with, and a lot were bitterly disappointed because they’d worked so hard”
-Adrian de souza; secondary school teacher
However it is not yet clear as to how this grade will be determined, with Ofqual in the midst of developing a process which provides each student with a calculated grade reflecting their performance.
The spread of Covid-19 has also had implications for degree level students with many courses being moved to an online structure.
Matt Wyndham, a postgraduate lecturer at University College London said moving online was “a bit of a struggle” and that it had made “the actual teaching itself more difficult”.
Wyndham also said that the university still “wants to do the best by the students” and aims to make sure “a 2020 graduate has the right grade in 10 years time”.