Burnley Council calls on Government to scrap school exams next year

Burnley councillors have passed a motion urgently calling on the Government to scrap next year's GCSEs and A-Levels.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 1:42 pm
Burnley Council calls on Government to scrap school exams next year

The motion was proposed at last night's Full Council meeting with the resolution agreed by a substantial majority.

Putting forward the motion, Coun. Margaret Lishman, a governor at Shuttleworth College, said children in Burnley and Padiham had already suffered enough disruption during the Covid pandemic, and forcing them to take exams next summer would not be fair.

Both Wales and Scotland have decided to cancel their equivalent examinations in 2021, and Coun. Lishman said that if Boris Johnson is considering a similar approach for England next summer he needs to act swiftly in order to provide clarity and certainty.

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"Some members of council are governors at primary and secondary schools in our borough and all of us will know children who will be facing exams next year," said Coun. Lishman.

"We are all too well aware that our children in most of the North-West of England, including here in Burnley and Padiham, have had their education disrupted since the first lockdown in March and continue to do so.

"That has been to a much greater extent than in parts of the Midlands and throughout the South. They have had some problems and are having more now but nothing like those we have faced here.

"There are children who have now completely disengaged from the school system and there are some who, because of necessary shielding, continue to learn remotely. The children who will suffer most are those who are already the most disadvantaged.

"Teachers, heads and other school staff have managed the demands of the pandemic with dedication and, for many of them, to the point of exhaustion.

"Earlier this year, it took to the very last minute for the Government to decide to cancel the exams. That led to another system which created new problems and then led to further U-turns.

"And that still applied to the whole country, regardless of the extra disruption we have seen here.

"If Mr Johnson truly wants to level up for the benefit of our children in the North-West, he must find an alternative to top-down exams and find a coherent assessment framework, which recognises the achievements of our schools and their consistent improvement in recent years.

"This has to be done soon to give some clarity and certainty to both pupils and teachers well in advance of next year’s exam season."