HEADTEACHERS have warned that GCSE and A-level exams must be cancelled this summer after plans to reopen schools were thrown into chaos.
Most primary school pupils in England are due to return to class tomorrow and there is an expected phased start for secondary schools from January 11.
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GCSE and A-level students will return to their secondary school first, followed by the other year groups.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson still wants teenagers to sit their national exams but a huge network of 2,000 headteachers in 80 local authorities argue the health of teachers and pupils should come first.
They say that teachers, pupils and parents should not be put at risk of contracting Covid-19 just so exams can still take place, reports The Sunday Times.
Teaching unions have called for all lessons to be taught online until at least mid-January and principals want staff to be prioritised for the vaccine.
Headteachers from the WorthLess? campaign said: “Wider public health, pupil and staff safety should be prioritised ahead of examinations.
“Public safety should not be risked or driven by an inflexible pursuit of GCSE and A-levels.”
Jules White, headteacher at Tanbridge House School in Horsham, West Sussex, is one of the leaders of the group.
She added: “There is great scepticism that exams can now go ahead fairly.”
Members of the group argue it would be unfair forcing kids to take exams because those living in high-risk areas may have missed more lessons that others in different parts of the country.
For example, figures show almost two thirds (62 per cent) of pupils were not in school in Medway, Kent, in the last week of November due to self-isolation or illness.
Wider public health, pupil and staff safety should be prioritised ahead of examinations."
Meanwhile, the figure was 8 per cent for pupils in Southsea-on-Sea in Essex – just a 50-mile drive away.
Former Education Secretary Lord Baker said teachers should simply assess the children’s performance rather than make them sit exams.
Matt Hood, headteacher of the online Oak National Academy, highlighted how a million kids had to use their parents’ smartphones because they did not own a laptop to do their schoolwork.
It comes as England's chief schools inspector says kids can't be "furloughed" for months on end as teaching unions lock horns with ministers over restarting lessons after the Christmas break.
Unions are trying to force schools to stay shut – and Sage experts say pupils might not fully return to lessons until February as the mutant Covid strain spreads across the UK.
'MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH'
Ofsted's chief inspector warned today that youngsters are being failed by yet more closures following the lockdown in spring.
Amanda Spielman said kids' time outside of class should be kept to the "absolute minimum" as militant unions join forces to keep schools shut.
Mr Williamson told the Mail on Sunday he is urging teachers and parents to "move heaven and earth" to get kids back to school.
He said: "Both of my daughters, one of whom is in an exam year, have had to self-isolate.
"I know how difficult the last year has been, because I have seen them miss being in the classroom, where they want to be.
"So I want my children, and all children, to be able to get back to school and stay in class – we will continue to prioritise making this happen where we can."
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