‘No point mollycoddling – life ain’t fair!’ Mike Parry rages at 2021 exam results boost
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Appearing on Jeremy Vine on 5, the broadcaster said students are being “mollycoddled” at the risk of being at a disadvantage in the future. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said pupils in England will receive advance notice of some topics ahead of tests – as well as exam aids when sitting papers – to ensure this cohort of students is not disadvantaged after months of coronavirus disruption. Additional exams will also be run to give students a second chance to sit a paper if the main exams or assessments are missed due to illness or self-isolation, the Department for Education (DfE) said.
But Mr Parry blasted: “Once again we’re dumbing everything down.
“An essential part of life is that life ain’t fair and it’s competitive.
“You’ve got to try and succeed, you’ve got to try and impose your way on life.
“And of course, we all have to go over barriers, we’re all given disadvantages and we’ve got to get over them.
“It’s no good mollycoddling this generation because it puts them at a disadvantage to future generations who haven’t been mollycoddled.”
The announcement of new measures comes after the fiasco around grading of GCSE and A-level students in the summer, when exams were cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic and school closures.
Thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by an algorithm, before Ofqual announced a U-turn, allowing them to use teachers’ original predictions instead.
In October, the Government announced that the 2021 exams would still go ahead in England, but that the majority of them would be delayed by three weeks to give pupils more time to catch up on learning.
On Thursday, Mr Williamson unveiled a package of measures to ensure that the grades students receive are as fair as possible following growing calls for the Government to do more to compensate for missed learning.
Students will be given aids, such as formula sheets, in some exams to boost their confidence and reduce the amount of information they need to memorise, as part of the measures.
A new expert group will be set up to look at differential learning and to monitor the variation in the impact of the pandemic on students across the country.
But it is understood that grading changes simply based on the region you live in have been ruled out.
Under new contingency measures, students who miss one or more exams due to self-isolation or sickness, but who have still completed a proportion of their qualification, will still receive a grade.
If a student misses all their assessments in a subject, they will have the opportunity to sit a contingency paper held shortly after the main exam series.
These tests are expected to run in the first few weeks of July.
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If a pupil has a legitimate reason to miss all their papers, then a validated teacher-informed assessment can be used but only once all chances to sit an exam have passed.
Students who are clinically extremely vulnerable will also be given the option to sit an exam at home if they cannot be in school due to restrictions.
It comes after DfE figures revealed that more than a fifth (22 percent) of secondary school pupils were absent from school last week for the second week running.
Mr Williamson said: “Exams are the best way of giving young people the opportunity to show what they can do, which is why it’s so important they take place next summer.
“But this isn’t business as usual. I know students are facing unprecedented disruption to their learning. That’s why exams will be different next year, taking exceptional steps to ensure they are as fair as possible.
“I am determined to support students, parents and teachers in these unprecedented times and hope measures like more generous grading and advance notice of some topic areas will give young people the clarity and confidence they need to achieve every success.”
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