Coronavirus GCSEs: 'Repeat the year,' says Wilshaw

Former Ofsted chief also says he could see schools reopening in June 'as long as there is plenty of planning'

Amy Gibbons

Coronavirus: Students taking GCSE in 2021 could repeat current academic year, suggests Sir Michael Wilshaw

Students who have "lost out" on a key stage of exam preparation due to the coronavirus crisis may need to "repeat the whole year", according to a former Ofsted chief.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector between 2012 and 2016, said there is "some argument" for children repeating a year of their education if they have "lost out" as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's World at One programme, Sir Michael also said that he could see schools reopening in June "as long as there is plenty of planning".


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Education secretary Gavin Williamson said on Sunday that no date had been set for reopening schools, insisting that five key tests would have to be met first.

Asked today if some students may need to repeat a year, Sir Michael said: "Yes...I think there is some argument for that. Obviously those who are about to sit examinations, that decision has been made for them in terms of estimated grades.

Coronavirus: Should students start the year again?

“But those who are preparing for examinations next year I think possibly need to repeat the year, and perhaps others as well. But that decision needs to be made by the Department [for Education]."

He added: "[Students] might have lost out so much by this that they need to repeat the whole year.

"It can be managed if there’s sufficient time to do that. But certainly if I was a parent of a child in Year 10 or Year 5, I’d want them to have the same opportunities as other children and if they’ve lost out then I think it’s up to schools and up to government to make sure they are given that opportunity."

His made his comments on the day that Ofqual pledged that Year 10s and 12s would not be "unfairly disadvantaged" by the current lockdown for their 2021 exams.

One prominent former head Sir Michael Griffiths has already said he favours Ofqual's stance. He pointed out that the former Ofsted chief's idea could mean no university admissions next year. 

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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