Thursday, 12 August 2021

A-Level and GCSE Results

This week students across the country have received their GCSE and A-Level results. The last 18 months has been particularly difficult for children and young people with them having to adjust and cope with school being shut and working from home. This is why the government took the difficult decision not to hold exams this year and allow teachers to decide the student’s final grades which will allow the strain that has been put on young people to be rewarded fairly.
 
Over the course of the pandemic, our local schools have done an amazing job making sure that they could offer a safe environment when they were open.  Timetables were adjusted to try to reduce the disruption of students moving between classes and ending up in crowded corridors, with some putting more time between lessons so that teachers could move from one class to another more easily to reduce the movements of students. However, this only lessened the impact that the pandemic had on young people and many have still struggled considerably.
 
The decision to close schools earlier this year did not just have the obvious effects around disruption to exams and teaching. It is much more profound than that.  Children in both primary schools and secondary have been separated from friends.  Children’s birthday parties couldn’t happen as they normally would and should.  School sports events did not go forward. We, humans, are social creatures. Friendships and the company of others are important. Forming those bonds and friendships is a crucial part of growing up, whether it is in the formative early years as children start their first years as infants at primary school, or whether it is in those tricky teenage years as young people wrestle with all the insecurities and concerns that accompany that stage of life.
 
Given the impact that the last year has had on many young people in terms of welfare and their education, the Government has made every effort to ensure those who have fallen behind are able to catch up. An important element of this is the Government’s Education Recovery Plan, which is helping schools deliver long-term catch-up support, so every child can reach their full potential.
 
As part of our long-term education recovery plan, we will deliver six million, 15-hour tutoring courses, targeted at pupils most in need, and provide training and development for teachers. In the next stage of our plan, we are reviewing the impact of time spent in school and college on helping students catch up. We will also be investing a total of more than £3 billion in additional catchup support, so we can help every child who has fallen behind. Our new £1.4 billion packages of support builds on the £1 billion Covid Catchup Fund announced last year and the £700 million we are providing for an extensive catch-up programme, which includes a £302 million Recovery Premium to help schools bolster summer provision and support pupils most in need from September.
 
The government is clear that, as we return to normality and learn to live with Covid-19, we are going to have to pay special attention to help all those children and young people who have been affected by the lockdowns to get back on track. They are all going to need support to overcome the trauma of this episode and we will work hard to ensure that this support is there.

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