10 Aug 2022

New calls for next year's GCSE and A-Level exams to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic

Derry MLA says the pandemic is tough going for young people

Tips for parents to support positive mental well-being during exams

Exam time

There are calls for the 2021 GCSE and A-Level exams to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's exams did not go ahead because of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

However, there are now demands for next year's tests to be scrapped as well.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has urged the Education Minister, Peter Weir to cancel all GCSE and A-level exams for 2021, in line with the recent decision taken in Wales.

Mr Durkan said the ongoing impact of Covid and disruption in learning demands a different approach. 

The Foyle MLA said: “In the midst of a pandemic, when life and the world around us has practically been put on hold for the best part of a year, contingency plans really should have been in place- not just for GCSE and A-level students but for children set to take their transfer test in just two months’ time.

“Undertaking these examinations is a daunting prospect at the best of times, yet pupils this year have had to contend with and adapt to numerous challenges.

"They have spent more time out of the classroom than in it, many hampered by periods of self-isolation and continued disruption to their learning, which places them at a significant disadvantage. 

“Our school kids have suffered enough," said Mr Durkan.

"They, their parents and their teachers, do not need the added stress of preparing for examinations in overcrowded halls.

"I would urge Minister Weir to reconsider his decision in favour of classroom-based assessments. This would go a long way in easing the pressures and anxieties for all involved. 

“Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. And a degree of leniency really must be shown by the department.” 

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