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UCU response to exam delays

12 October 2020 | last updated: 13 October 2020

UCU has called on the government to implement a fairer assessment system for exams to ensure the chaos of the summer is not repeated.

Responding to the announcement by education secretary Gavin Williamson that GCSEs and A-level exams will be delayed by three weeks, the union called for a fairer system that relies less on exams. The union also said that the current situation highlighted the need for an overhaul of exams and assessments, and a move to a system of post-qualifications admissions, where students apply to university after their results.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Staff and students have worked incredibly hard in unprecedented circumstances this year and deserve better than the continued mess that the Westminster government has overseen.

'The government needs to accept it got things badly wrong back in August and work with staff to ensure a proper system of teacher-moderated grades instead of exams, in case we see a continued rise in Covid-19 cases and more widespread lockdowns.

'Whilst a delay in the start of exams in 2021 to allow students and teachers more time to complete courses is welcome, it is vital to consider how this will affect teacher workload and timetable planning. Longer term, the current situation shows that we must seriously look at moving to a system of post-qualifications admissions, where students apply to university after their results.

'Without substantial support from the government, and a commitment to genuine reform, further uncertainty around exams and marking systems will simply create further chaos for students and unbearable workloads for staff'.

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