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“Exams are the best and fairest way for young people to show what they know and can do” – The Education Secretary on the importance of exams

In today’s edition of the Sunday Times, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, responded to the paper’s previous calls for exams to be cancelled, reiterating the value they have as the “best and fairest way for young people to show what they know and can do.”

Last week’s leader section of the Sunday Times declared that due to some children having to isolate because of Covid, the interests of all young people would be best served if we cancelled next year’s exams.

The Education Secretary believes these claims do a grave disservice to the work of dedicated teachers who continue to go above and beyond to give every pupil, whether in school or at home, a world class education.

Since the easing of the first national restrictions, getting children back to school has been a national priority, with 99% of schools open, and legislation in place to ensure all self-isolating pupils receive an education at home.

In preparation for next year’s exams, we have built in three weeks of extra teaching time for most exams in 2021, providing catch-up support, and continued work on a further package of pressure-reducing measures for students and staff.

We recognise of course, that this is a difficult period for young people, and teaching staff, and as Dame Glenys Stacey, acting chief regulator of Ofqual, said earlier this month, we are exploring every step to ensure next summer’s exams are fair, and less daunting to pupils.

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