Today (18 Jun) is the deadline for submission of teacher assessed grades.
Coming to the end of the most onerous task this generation of teachers has ever faced, Headteacher, Dr Nick Smith said:
"True to their caring nature, teachers have spent weeks, double, sometimes triple marking and moderating all the contributory evidence to ensure their students receive they grades they deserve. Hours have been spent poring over scripts, weighing up evidence and agonizing over grades. There is now only time for a last-minute data check, a final heated debate over a student and the grades will need to be entered.
"Next week, in response, the exam boards will be demanding samples of work to verify the consistency of marking across the country before the real fun and games begin on the earlier than normal results days mid-summer. On results days prior to 2020, students and teachers were always comrades in arms against the exam boards. However, this year it will be personal.
"If students don't get the grades they expect (or want) and particularly if it means they cannot get onto their college or University course the finger of blame will be pointed squarely at the teachers who marked their scripts.
"The issue will become not one of a poor student performance in an exam but of a poor teacher performance in the marking. It is a situation that will be compounded by a free 'all you can eat' appeals buffet that will engage teachers throughout the summer holidays and well into the Autumn term.
NAHT comments on submission of teacher assessed grades
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union, NAHT, said:
“All school staff have been working hard to assess students and award fair, evidence-based grades in every subject over the past half term. The late decisions and details about what would happen once exams were cancelled means that the short period schools have had to complete this has been intense. But once those grades are submitted, they will need to engage with the guidance on reviews and appeals, undertaking further checks to prepare for results days and beyond.
“There cannot be a repeat of this situation next year. Government must announce, before schools break up this term, the decisions on adaptations to exams and assessments in 2022 and the contingency plans, should exams not be able to go ahead for some, or all, students.
“Staff and students need certainty; to inform planning for the best use of teaching and learning time from September, but also to reduce the negative impact on their wellbeing that an absence of this information will cause.”
Elena Wilson, Policy Manager, The Edge Foundation, said:
"Teachers are already better prepared in 2021. They have a range of evidence to draw from, including mock exams, coursework and essays. But if problems occur we must not chide them. Teachers are doing their best in a system rapidly constructed as an emergency measure. It was not carefully designed to work in this way. Any bumps in the road simply prove that a new system must be properly developed and teachers well supported.
"In January, Gavin Williamson promised that “this year we are going to put our trust in teachers rather than algorithms.”
"But the government must do more than put their trust in teachers. They must also provide them with the guidance and support they need and redesign the system to enshrine this. Teachers have been holding the system together with incredible tenacity.
"The government should use the long-overdue comprehensive spending review to uplift and recognise the tireless work that teachers have been undertaking throughout the pandemic."