Will exams be fair? Soaring Covid absence raises fears over GCSEs and A levels

Questions are being asked over the fairness of holding examinations this summer given the continuing and stark increases in both student and staff absence from schools.

Official attendance figures (DfE, 2022) show that 100,000 more students are now self-isolating than two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, around 114,000 teachers, school leaders and support staff are currently off school, with a quarter of state schools reporting at least 15 per cent absence among teachers and leaders (27 per cent of primaries and seven per cent of secondaries).

In addition, 21 per cent of state schools have at least 15 per cent of support staff off (24 per cent of primaries and six per cent of secondaries).

The government intends for exams to take place this summer with some amendments to arrangements (DfE & Ofqual, 2021), but has published contingency plans based around teacher-assessed grades if exams cannot go ahead “safely or fairly” due to the pandemic (Ofqual, 2021).

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here