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Daily News Summary
12 August 2021

image Exams 2021: GCSE passes and top grades reach record high
image 'Independent schools have shown there's real substance, real value to the fees'
image COVID measures "have reduced the risk of infection in school"
image Tony Blair's university target 'is no longer fit for purpose'

Exams 2021: GCSE passes and top grades reach record high

 

Figures show that top grades at GCSE (7/As and above) have risen 2.7 percentage points to 28.9%, while passes (4/Cs and above) have increased 0.8 percentage points to 76.3%. BBC News.

ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon has issued a statement wishing pupils well as they receive their Year 11 results, saying: "We hope the grades young people receive today enable them to pursue their goals with confidence, whether they are continuing their education or following another pathway." Read the full statement here.

Professor Alan Smithers, director at the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, has suggested parents could join a campaign to scrap GCSE exams after two successive years of teacher assessed grades. By Joe Middleton, The Independent. An article published in The Telegraph in advance of this year's results reported that girls were expected to increase their lead over their male peers, with Professor Smithers saying we should "accept it is just that they are cleverer". By Camilla Turner. The article quotes Neil Roskilly, vice president of the Independent Schools Association.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has called on Boris Johnson to sack his education secretary, Gavin Williamson, for failing children "over and over again" during the pandemic. By Rowena Mason and Aubrey Allegretti, The Guardian.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has said exams will return in 2022, though the grading standard could be adjusted to "make them fair". By Catherine Neilan, The Telegraph.

Sam Freedman, a former government education adviser, has written a report suggesting exam grades should be "permanently rebased" to 2020 levels. By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week.

According to iNews, it could take between three and five years to reverse A-level and GCSE grade inflation to pre-pandemic levels. By Will Hazell.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, has said proposals to move A-level grading to a numeric system are "unrealistic". By Sally Guyoncourt, iNews.

Sir Kevan Collins, the former education recovery commissioner, has suggested that universities will have to support students with gaps in their education "so we don't see huge barriers to learning". By Nicola Woolcock, The Times.

According to data from UCAS, record numbers of school leavers in England are accepting university places left open following a drop in EU student applications. By Rachel Hall, The Guardian.

Experts have suggested that Scottish teenagers sitting exams next year face disadvantage as a result of this year's grade inflation. By Daniel Sanderson, The Telegraph.

 

'Independent schools have shown there's real substance, real value to the fees'

 

The Telegraph explores why many parents have opted to enrol their children in independent schools during the pandemic, with many citing the quality of online learning provision as a contributing factor. By Harry de Quetteville.

 
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The Telegraph

COVID measures "have reduced the risk of infection in school"

 

A survey conducted by Public Health England has concluded that rapid and widespread asymptomatic testing, the vaccination of school staff, bubbles and the isolation system have helped to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in classrooms. By Jane Merrick, iNews.

 
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iNews

Tony Blair's university target 'is no longer fit for purpose'

 

Euan Blair, son of Tony Blair, has said the former prime minister's target for half of all school leavers to attend university "has not worked out", adding: "There is an incredible route through an apprenticeship to some of the world’s best companies and some of the world’s best tech start-ups."

 
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The Telegraph

 

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