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Schools reopening could be DELAYED by exams appeals shambles, head teachers warn

SCHOOLS could be forced to DELAY reopening because of exam appeals shambles, head teachers have warned.

Teachers could be overwhelmed trying to prioritise helping thousands of kids appeal their A-Levels and run out of time to get classrooms ready for reopening on September 7.

⚠️ Read our GCSE and A-levels live blog for the latest news & updates

Schools will have to deal with even more appeals as GCSE results come in on Thursday for around 700,000 pupils.

Schools are already having to “triage” appeals to prioritise students who are at most risk of losing places at universities but there is only three weeks to ensure social distancing measures are in place in schools before pupils return.

They will have to do the same for GCSE pupils who need certain grades for selective sixth form colleges and schools.

General secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said Geoff Barton told The Times: “We are concerned about the potential impact on schools and colleges of processing large numbers of appeals over A-level results just at the time that they are also managing the return of all students and the complex set of safety measures involved.

“Some colleges report that they need to deal with hundreds of individual appeals, all of which will be a major distraction for leaders and teachers.

“This pressure will mount further following GCSE results on Thursday, which are also likely to generate many appeals if teacher-assessed grades are once again moderated down.

“Any appeals process must be simple, swift and free from bureaucracy so that the opening of schools and colleges remains the priority.”

Will Baldwin, Head of Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College – one of the largest in the country with 3,000 students – said he simply did not have the resources to deal with appeals and getting schools ready.

He said: “We do not have the capacity to deal with the volume of A-level appeals we know are forthcoming, when we know we are about to be dealing with hundreds of GCSE applicants who may have not reached the threshold required for enrolment, while preparing to reopen for all students in a Covid-safe way in September.

“We simply do not have the capacity.”

“I would like to say managing our appeals and GCSE applicants will not jeopardise the safe reopening of college but unfortunately doing everything is an impossible task.”

Boris Johnson has said repeatedly schools will reopen in September for all pupils – no matter what.

Schools have told been by the PM it is their “moral duty” to make sure kids are back in classrooms but a range of measures, including staggered arrival and departure times, different lunch breaks, one-way systems and other social distancing measures require teachers to spend a lot of time readying them for the first day back.

But rules on how to apply for an appeal for the thousands of devastated A-level kids who had the results downgraded because of the computer generated standardisation.

Ofqual issued guidance on Saturday afternoon and then hastily withdrew it.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is facing pressure to resign after his promised “triple lock” safety net, which would let kids rely on their mock exams in an appeal, fell apart.

Many teachers are demanding students should be able to rely on their predicted grades.

GCSE students are facing a similar fiasco and could lose out on spots at schools.

Mr Williamson said the Government expects all schools back open and has even threatened to use emergency Covid-19 powers to force them to reopen.

Parents will be fined if they do not send their children back without a good medical reason.

Head teacher of South Hampstead High School said: “At some point we need to get ready for GCSEs and the long-awaited return of all pupils in September.

“The appeals process is really important, but the fallout from results is a major distraction from preparing for September. I’ve never known anything like it in 19 years of teaching.”

Kids have already missed out on six months of schools even after Boris Johnson scrapped plans in June to allow all primary years to go back before the summer holidays.

 

 

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