Brexit report

Scrap exams for the sake of students, pleads councillor

THERE have been increasing calls for next year’s GCSE and A Level exams to be scrapped.
Last week Cllr Sheamus Greene, pictured below, who is a father and a school bus driver, calling on the exams to be cancelled and for the North to follow the Welsh model of continuous assessment this academic year.
Cllr Greene’s motion stated that “due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council recognises the unprecedented stress that has been placed on this year’s GCSE and A Level students.” 
The motion went on to state the Council firstly notes that Covid has had “a disproportionate impact on some schools and pupils over others.”
The motion, which was seconded by Cllr Anthony Feely, noted Fermanagh students “are faced with one of the worst broadband infrastructures on this island and therefore are left at a serious disadvantage to other students” and it would be “impossible to have a level playing field for exams to take place.” 
The motion called on the Council to write to Education Minster Peter Weir, the Executive Office, and all political party leaders in the Assembly to follow the Welsh model, where the 2021 exams have already been scrapped and students will be continually assessed by course work instead.
“[This] can take into account whether a pupil has missed substantial periods of time due to self-isolation and removes entirely the risk of exams being cancelled at the last minute as they were this year,” the motion states.
While it received significant support the motion did not pass, however, as it was opposed by DUP councillors who argued at the meeting, held in the on December 1, that Scotland and England had not scrapped their exams. Incidentally, Scotland subsequently cancelled its National 5 exams, roughly the equivalent of the GSCEs. 
Wales has also called of its GCSE and A Level exams for 2021.

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