Socialist Worker

Have Tories learned the lesson of last year’s exam scandal?

by Sam Ord
Issue No. 2767

A Level students protested last year over a grading scandal that discriminated against those from poorer areas

A Level students protested last year over a grading scandal that discriminated against those from poorer areas (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Counselling charity Childline has revealed that the amount of pupils who rang regarding exam-related stress jumped from 861 between April and June last year to 1,812 this year.

The revelation came as tens of thousands of school and college students were set to receive their A level and GCSE results this week.

For the second year in a row due to Covid-19 restrictions exams have been called off. Teachers will decide what grades to give.

But the Sutton Trust social mobility charity said it was worried that poorer students could be at a disadvantage. It said richer parents are more likely to lobby and pressure teachers over exam results.

Some 23 percent of private school teachers said parents had pressured them over their child’s grades. This compares to just 11 percent at state schools in poorer areas.

Teachers given the responsibility of grading students can add to the amount of stress they already experience. With this added responsibility many fear parents may even intimidate teachers for higher results.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said, “We know these parents think they are doing the best for their children. But it is yet another issue which has added to the stress of an extremely stressful period.”

The government’s constant mishandling of exams has caused a mass of unnecessary stress for students and teachers.

A Level students protested last year after grades were calculated using an algorithm. Students in poorer areas were much more likely to be downgraded than those at private schools.


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