A UNION leader has welcomed the Government’s decision to replace GCSE and A-levels exams by teacher assessments this year.

Schools will determine grades this summer by using a combination of mock exams, coursework and essays, Ofqual has confirmed.

It comes after students lost months of face-to-face teaching time due to the pandemic.

Jerry Glazier, district secretary of the East Essex branch of the National Education Union, said the last thing they wanted was a repeat of last year’s “debacle”.

He said: “We have been quite clear that we need to have a system in place that is flexible but fair, so we have absolutely welcomed the decision and think it’s the right thing. The last thing we want to see is a repeat of least year’s chaos and debacle.”

Gazette: Jerry Glazier

Last year, thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by an algorithm.

Shortly after, Ofqual announced a U-turn which allowed them to use teachers’ predictions instead.

Mr Glazier added: “Teachers have been doing their utmost this academic year, as they did last year, to give the best opportunities possible.

“No system will be perfect but this is the best option and allows students to be awarded for their efforts over the last year.

“It is absolutely the right decision and the right place that this year’s grades will come from.

“Last year’s results were a disaster and caused an enormous amount of upset and added significant amounts of stress to students and teachers.”

This year, A-level results will be published on August 10 and GCSE results on August 12 to allow time for students to appeal.

Mr Glazier added teachers have been expecting and preparing for this outcome.

He said: “Schools have been given the tools to assist them in these judgements. Teachers have been recording and preparing since September as the prospect of exams and assessments looked unlikely due to the pandemic.”

There will be optional assessments set by exam boards for all subjects, but these will not be taken in exam conditions or decide students’ final grades.

Instead, they will be taken in classrooms and marked by teachers.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the plans in the House of Commons yesterday saying it is the Government’s priority to give students “the best possible chance to show what they know and can do”.

He said: “All our children and young people have paid a considerable price over the pandemic.

“It has put their friendships to one side and put some of the wonder of growing up on hold.”