Tomorrow, thousands of young people will receive GCSE results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These results will reflect a KS4 education that has been entirely in the shadow of the disruption of the Covid pandemic and all the challenges faced by this unique cohort. They will also reflect the determination and resilience of our young people, which must be celebrated.
The UK Government and Ofqual decision to implement a two-step reduction in grades in order to return to 2019 grades by 2023 means that many centres will see grades drop this year, regardless of the performance of their students. Based on the rationale set out by Ofqual we anticipate that the percentage of grades at 7 and above will fall by around 4% for Art and Design candidates, from the 2021 level at 28.9% to a mid-way point from the 2019 level of 20.8% of entries.
Provisional entries for GCSE Art and Design for 2022 indicate that numbers are once again falling in our subject.
According to a recent IFS report, the attainment gap between poorer pupils and their better-off classmates is just as large now as it was 20 years ago. The report indicates that16-year-olds who are eligible for free school meals are about 27 percentage points less likely to earn good GCSEs than their less disadvantaged peers,
The policy changes in England have not shifted the educational attainment gap for children of different backgrounds.
Michele Gregson, NSEAD General Secretary says:
‘Inevitably, many students will be disappointed this year, and rightly concerned that their grades will be set against those of the 2020 and 2021 cohorts in the future. This is not fair, nor is the fact that these students have lost learning, with enormous social, emotional and behavioural impacts of missing out on classroom learning and formative experiences during the lockdowns .
‘When the next prime minister is chosen next week, the failure to have a recovery programme, to recognise the impact of learning loss on a generation will be one legacy felt by many children – it is an impact that will last a lifetime for the most disadvantaged.
‘We have called upon Ofqual to find a remedy that enables these cohorts to be easily identifiable and their results put into context when they apply for further and higher education, and when entering the job market. It is time to put students first and put an end to the inequities that are now baked into the education system.’