Labour has called for next year’s GCSE and A-level exams to be delayed so pupils can catch up on teaching time lost due to the pandemic.
Lucy Bentley, 17, from Hayes, west London, is worried about the impact not going to school for so long will have on her A-level results next year – and is apprehensive about having to contend with pupils from this year’s cohort who have delayed their university places.
She talks about her concerns and her experiences of this year.
I am going into Year 13 and am studying three A-levels: geography, English literature, and philosophy and ethics.
Through this pandemic, the online support from my school has been fantastic, but some things are going to be problematic in Year 13 for me.
Missed teaching and coursework delay
One of the biggest difficulties with missing so much learning time is the fact that our coursework for some A-levels has been delayed.
In English literature, our coursework should already be started – yet we have been unable to tackle coursework while being at home.
Coursework can take a long time to complete and with so much lesson time missed, Year 13 content needed to be learnt, coursework needed to be done plus university application prep – there isn’t enough time to complete all of this and sit our A-levels in May.
Mental health is really important and yet with so much work to do, it is going to be difficult for students sitting A-level exams in 2021 to cope.
Next year’s A-levels should be moved
Our school works really hard to tackle any problems we may have, however, I do believe that it would be beneficial to move our A-levels to July.
This would give us much needed time to complete coursework as well as learn the new content for Year 13.
Doing geography as an A-level, I think is going to be difficult for Year 13 students this year – as well as other subjects.
The reason for this is the fact that geography requires field work which we aren’t able to do, given the circumstances.
Geography is a very hands-on subject and I learn well when doing tasks surrounding our content, but as we are not able to go out and do the fieldwork we need we are having to do it in school which I think is going to be difficult.
The way we have to learn now has completely changed and it will take some time to get used to but we do not have that time to become accustomed to the changes. We don’t have the time to get everything done.
Fighting for university places with this year’s cohort
With so many students deciding to reapply to university for September 2021 from this year’s cohort, it is going to be so much harder for us to secure a place at a university and get the grades we need to move on to a degree.
I believe many Year 13s are anxious at this stage as we are unsure as to whether we can get all of our work done in time for exams and get it done to a standard that means we could be offered a university place.
I am hoping that 2021 A-level students will be taken seriously and that we will get the support we need to secure a place at university and do well in all of our subjects.