GCSE resits in maths and English up by over 50 per cent

Over a third of colleges have had to move planned face to face classes online in order to be able to run these exams safely during the coronavirus pandemic
6th November 2020, 9:34am

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GCSE resits in maths and English up by over 50 per cent

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/gcse-resits-maths-and-english-over-50-cent
Colleges Have Incurred Significant Costs From Huge Resit Entry Numbers

The number of students sitting GCSE English and maths in college this month rose by over 50 per cent compared to last year, new figures reveal.

According to the Association of Colleges, entries were 53 per cent higher, with over a quarter of colleges experiencing more than double their usual November entries. This comes after exams were cancelled this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The AoC also said that over a third (37 per cent) of colleges have had to move planned face to face classes online in order to be able to run these exams safely, and that a third (34 per cent) have also had to hire more space or staff than usual to support these exams, leading to additional costs for institutions.

These costs cannot be claimed from the government's exam support service because the support excludes candidates aiming to improve their grade from below a grade 4.


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AoC chief executive David Hughes said: "Colleges have managed some of the largest exam sittings across the country this week, with higher numbers of students sitting GCSEs this year due to the uncertainty that students felt over their grades from the summer. Many colleges have been racking up big bills to make the exams safe and keep their buildings Covid-secure.

"It's completely unfair that they are not eligible for support from the fund specifically established to help with these costs. It would be a simple step for the DfE to extend the exam support service, especially as we look towards large sittings for vocational-technical exams in January and next summer's GCSEs and A levels."

Last month, the AoC estimated around 20 colleges were looking to hold English and maths GCSE exams for cohorts of over 500 students. One of those, City College Norwich, expected 800 students resitting English and/or maths. Principal and chief executive Corrienne Peasgood said that was an increase on last year, "and that is despite the fact we have written and spoken to all our students trying to discourage them from resitting this November".

She said at the time: "In recent years, the college rented an exhibition hall for exam day and transported students there. We have not been able to find a Covid-secure way to get them there. So we will have to cancel some classes on-site and move others online for the day."

"We will have 450 maths students at Norwich - they won't be able to all leave at the same time at the end of the exam," said Ms Peasgood. 

"I am now not only concerned about students who have to self-isolate, but I am also concerned about bringing large groups of students that would normally not be together in a bubble together for the exam. We will have students from all different areas and some who have now left the college altogether. I am very worried about the public health implications of this. We have to balance their right to sit the exam with the risk of spreading the virus."

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