The Socialist Education Association (affiliated to the Labour Party) has issued a statement on the coronavirus crisis. https://socialisteducationalassociation.org/ The statement was issued before the Government’s most recent advice this Monday – so it’s possible the SEA will want to amend it.
Halting classes, but also taking additional measures like those outlined in the statement would seem to be the only logical next step – more and more education workers are arguing this, many parents are removing their children and individual schools are being forced to shut because of staff absence anyway – the UK is now the only major European country not closing schools. As the crisis unfolds, many children, particularly those who are older, will want to take on new roles and responsibilities – helping affected adults, organising community support groups. They should be encouraged to do so.
There is also the issue of public exams. It’s now being proposed in some quarters that these should be ‘postponed’ – either till September, or even 2021. Delay and uncertainty is the last thing young people, who’ve already undergone weeks of worry and increasing pressure, want! This year’s exams should be cancelled completely. Given that the vast majority of students no longer leave school at 16, GCSE’s really are no longer necessary- teachers know enough about their students’ abilities, don’t they.
The situation surrounding A-levels might be more complex, but, there’s no reason why schools and colleges can’t submit attainment statements agreed between teachers and students. ‘Predicted grades’ have been in operation for many years and large numbers (admittedly to more of the ‘high performing’ students from top schools) of ‘unconditional’ university offers issued. For those looking for places a new, more student-centred form of ‘clearing’ could be implemented.