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Petition Amend GCSE exam content for children that are now in year 9 and year 10

Relook at the exam content structure and simplify it for children who will be taking their exams in 2022 and 2023 as they have lost so much time in school. These children are now in Year 9 and Year 10, and have lost education in both lockdowns, it is going to be hard for them to catch-up.

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The worry these children are going to have in catching up education missed that they need to achieve good GCSE grades is going to have an impact on mental health and further education, and future career aspects. The exams should be simplified with some content eradicated so they can catch up in schools as they have up to now missed 9 months of education which is imperative to their gaining good grades in their GCSES.

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Government responded

This response was given on 17 February 2021

The department will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on all students, including those due to take exams in 2022, to ensure that students in this cohort can achieve a fair grade.

Read the response in full

The government remains clear that exams are the fairest method to assess students. GCSE, AS and A levels rigorously assess the knowledge acquired by students and are in line with expected standards in countries with high performing education systems.

Despite the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, students and teachers will be working hard in preparation for exams or assessments in 2022. We know that it is important that students in this cohort are able to get a grade safely and fairly and we will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on all students to ensure that those due to take exams in 2022 are supported to move on to the next stage of their lives fairly.

To support students to catch up with their education, the government has announced a catch-up package worth £1bn to support children and young people. This includes a ‘Catch up Premium’ worth £650m and a £350m National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils.

We have also announced that we will provide a further programme of catch up. This will involve £300m of new money to early years, schools and providers of 16-19 further education for high-quality tutoring and we will work in collaboration with the education sector to develop specific initiatives for summer schools and a Covid Premium to support catch up.

We recognise that these extended school and college closures have had a huge impact on children and young people’s education, which will take more than a year to make up. We will work in collaboration with the wider education sector – to develop a long-term plan to make sure children and young people have the chance to make up their education over the course of this Parliament. The Prime Minister has appointed an Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, who will advise Ministers on the approach for education recovery, with a particular focus on helping students catch up on learning lost as a result of the pandemic.

Understanding the impact of Covid disruption is a key priority for the Government. The Department has commissioned an independent research agency to analyse catch-up needs and monitor progress over this academic year.

Department for Education

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