Writing for the London Evening Standard, Leaders Council chairman Lord Blunkett has called for exam grades to be adjusted for pupils who have fallen behind with their education as a result of digital poverty.
The former education secretary said that the “main challenge” was to be as fair as possible to young people who have been at the greatest disadvantage during the Covid-19 pandemic from not having access to the technology required to learn from home.
Lord Blunkett also urged Westminster to provide more support and clear guidance to teachers and schools, and bring in external moderation to ensure a level playing field.
The Leaders Council chairman wrote: “The main challenge will be to take into account the very different learning experience of those youngsters who have had both the equipment and connectivity to continue learning out of school and those who have severely lost out through no fault of their own. This is probably the biggest challenge.”
He added: “Reassurance to young people that they will neither be discriminated against, nor favoured, by teacher assessment, will be important.”
Education Select Committee chair Robert Halfon agreed with Lord Blunkett’s words and echoed his calls for action to ensure disadvantaged pupils are not left short-changed compared to their counterparts.
Halfon also called for a nationwide assessment of all pupils ahead of exams, to gauge the levels of learning lost for each and the amount of catch-up time that may be needed in each individual’s circumstances.
Halfon said: “I hope very much that exams will take place next year, at least in the core subjects of English, maths and sciences.”
Lord Blunkett’s full article in the London Evening Standard may be read here.