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Commenting on the announcement by the Department for Education on teacher assessed grades for qualifications this summer, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT has recognised consistently that the difficult but necessary decision to cancel examinations in the summer of 2021 has meant hard choices for Government and the regulator in ensuring that young people can leave school or college with credible and worthwhile qualifications.
 
“The core test for Ministers to meet in admittedly challenging circumstances was to ensure that the solution for qualifications was as fair as possible for candidates and as manageable as possible for centres and their staff.
 
“Today's announcement leaves many important questions of detail unanswered and teachers, school and college leaders and candidates remain uncertain about the precise nature of the arrangements that will be put in place. That such uncertainty persists a matter of months before assessments are due to be completed is profoundly concerning.
 
“However, from the information that has been set out today it is by no means evident that the Government and Ofqual have made the right calls in determining how qualifications should be awarded. As the NASUWT has made clear consistently, a solution that does not recognise the extraordinary pressures on centre staff cannot be regarded as close to fit for purpose.
 
“By rejecting the Union's calls for awarding body-set assessments to be made mandatory in the majority of cases and marked externally, a golden opportunity has been missed to secure a consistent, reliable and manageable approach to awarding.

“Warm words about the pressures on teachers and school leaders from the Government are scant consolation for this serious error of judgement. In any event, it would appear that the Government has ducked the issue by outsourcing responsibility for addressing workload concerns to awarding bodies.
 
“It will not escape the attention of teachers and school and college leaders that there is no detail in today's announcement on how centres will be expected to ensure that assessments are undertaken consistently and fairly within and between centres, no meaningful information on quality assurance processes nor on how decisions should be made about the kinds of evidence to be used in assessments.
 
“Of particular concern is the wholly unjustified decision to move results day to the week beginning 9 August, particularly in light of the lack of information about the precise nature of the responsibilities centres will be expected to take on in managing candidate appeals.
 
“The NASUWT will be raising these and other critical concerns about these matters with Ministers and Ofqual as a matter of urgency.”

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