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Commenting on the publication of the joint Department for Education/Ofqual consultation on replacement arrangements for summer exams, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers' Union, said:
 
“After the necessary but belated decision to cancel exams this summer, teachers, school leaders and learners have been waiting anxiously for further details of what will be established in their place. It was always inevitable that some form of centre assessment process would be identified as the only possible option and this aspect of the proposals is therefore not surprising.
 
“The NASUWT will consider the proposals on both general and vocational/technical qualifications carefully and will submit constructive responses to  both consultations. However, it is clear that the cancellation of examinations and the disruption caused by the public health crisis will mean difficult trade-offs and there are no easy or perfect solutions.
 
“There are important choices for the Government and the regulator to make. It is vital that the government recognises that teachers and school and college leaders are already working under extraordinary pressure and any solution that fails to address this fact will not be deliverable nor allow candidates to benefit from assessments that are fair in practice. This will be of particular importance in relation to internal and external quality assurance measures, as well as the time available to centres to undertake and complete assessments.
 
“It is incumbent on the DfE and Ofqual to make clear to schools and colleges that they will need to provide teachers and school leaders with the time and space they will require to familiarise themselves with the arrangements and to implement them effectively.  Teachers and school leaders must also be assured that they will be given unambiguous and objective criteria against which to assess candidates so that students and centres can be sure about the basis on which grades will be awarded.
 
“It remains the case that some candidates, including those who have been subject to the most disruption and those who are most vulnerable, have been especially adversely impacted by the pandemic. It is essential that all possible steps are taken to ensure that progression to further and higher education and employment pathways remains open for those young people whose studies have been the most impacted by the pandemic.”

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