'Set up to fail' - Students call for GCSE and A-level exam cancellation

File photo dated 07/03/12 of a general view of pupils sitting an exam. All exams in Scotland have be

Megan Howes (pictured) and fellow student Niamh Steward have written to three Norfolk MPs to ask them to stand up for students and cancel GCSE and A-level exams in 2021. - Credit: PA

A campaign started by Norwich students is calling on MPs to "stand up" for GCSE and A-level pupils and have this year's exams cancelled. 

Niamh Steward and Megan Howes, year 13 students at Notre Dame High School, in Norwich, have written to Chloe Smith and Clive Lewis, MPs for Norwich North and Norwich South and Jerome Mayhew, MP for Broadland.

Their letter has been signed by more than 700 Norfolk pupils in years 11 and 13 in the space of 24 hours.

In 2020, exams were cancelled due to the pandemic with all A-level and GCSE students results based on their teacher assessments.

The letter says: "We are asking you as our MP to stand up for the young people of your constituency and to call for GCSEs and A-Levels to be cancelled in 2021.

"Every student has been affected by this differently: some have had to isolate multiple times this term, some have had their teachers having to isolate multiple times with others having to not isolate at all.

"These differences in experiences mean that the proposals the government has put forward to slightly delay exams and potentially change the content still don’t level the playing field for exams which leads us to believe that the only solution is to cancel exams."

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It adds: "But after missing five months of school with only a three-week delay in exams to compensate, we are being set up to fail."

Miss Steward, 17, said: "I think the response shows it's such a big issue for many people which highlights why the government needs to do something about it."

Miss Howes, 18,  added: " The undertaking of this hasn't been taken for a selfish reason of 'I want exams cancelled'. It's knowing other people even in your constituency or even in the UK worse off than you and they deserve to get exams cancelled as well."

A Notre Dame High School spokesman said: "Notre Dame is always happy for its students to voice their opinions but as a school we continue to focus on preparing our students for a full set of exams."

A spokesman for City College Norwich said the concerns were "understandable" ahead of this year's exams and that "no student should be disadvantaged" due to the pandemic.

The spokesman said: “The awarding bodies will again have mechanisms in place to revise exam results to take into account teacher assessed grades, if necessary."