Coronavirus updates: ‘triple lockdown’ schools plan and NHS warning

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Explain the government’s “triple lockdown” solution to school chaos

The question of what to do with A-level and GCSE students in a year where exams were canceled has been a tricky equation to solve.

The government offered an answer on Tuesday, but it still wasn’t to everyone’s liking. Here’s a more detailed look.

What was the problem?

“The school is closed! No exam! ”

It might have sounded like a dream for high school leavers – at first – when the decision was made to do away with the A-levels and GCSE exams that determine higher education students or the workforce each year. artwork.

But then came the anguish of how, in fact, they would get a grade.

What has been proposed?

Some have argued for grades to be assigned by teachers, estimating what the student would have scored, based on performance before the lockdown, including mock tests.

Some education authorities have reacted with horror to the idea, saying it would require widespread downgrading by examination boards, as teacher estimates were historically higher than final scores.

Others suggested that exams could be taken later, after the viral crisis has subsided sufficiently.

Problems with these ideas?

Aside from the not very precise teacher estimates, the likely downgrades would almost certainly spark a flood of student calls, which should be dealt with in a hurry as the clock ticked towards the start of the academic year in the month. next.

Likewise, the idea of ​​holding exams “later” did not really fit in with the start of higher education.

Unprecedented, was there at least some sort of pattern?

Scotland were the first to come out of the blocks with their solution. He took the teachers’ estimates and moderated them, with 124,000 downgraded results.

How did it go?

Not good. Angry students and parents took to the streets, protesting that the downgrading process – which took into account the past performance of schools – would unfairly affect students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or those who attended poorly performing schools simply because of geography.

Thus, the Scottish government was forced this week to backtrack. Downgraded scores would be removed, with teacher estimates reset, although any student whose grade had been moderated upward could still retain the higher score.

What now for England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Amid the swirling waters of the coronavirus mess, students will be allowed to claim the highest ground possible.

In what the government calls a “triple locking” approach, students can choose the result of their mock exam / teacher estimate, the moderate mark that has already been decided among those (which will be released this Thursday), or they may choose to take an exam in the fall. Whatever the highest rating they can take.

It’s simple?

Not enough. Ofqual, the school regulator, will always determine when valid simulated results can be used. Students wishing these results to influence moderate scores will still have to go through an appeal process, with their school required to submit evidence to the review board. However, the government’s decision appears to have created a climate in which students who complete their studies in this extraordinary year are treated well.

Isn’t the timing still an issue for college entry?

The government is urging universities to keep places open for students who arrive late due to fall appeals or exams. Ironically, that might not be a problem for once due to the very reason for this mess – the coronavirus – which stops the usual arrival of several thousand foreign students in Britain.

Is the government’s decision universally popular?

Students may be relieved, but others fear the plan means 2020 could be seen as a year in which an entire school year across the UK graduated with a dodgy, rubbery set of numbers.

Geoff Barton, secretary general of the Association of School and College Leaders, warns the move could cause a dark year for British education. He says the plan creates the risk of “massive inconsistency” from school to school, as mock exams are not standardized across the country. Additionally, some students may not even have taken them away before schools closed in March, leaving their fate to teachers’ predictions. Calling the triple-lock solution “a panicked and chaotic response,” Barton said the idea that mock exam scores could trump calculated scores “beggars’ belief.”

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has also slammed the plan and – although the results are released on Thursday – called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change course or risk “robbing a generation of their future”.

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