Youngsters have been enduring a punishing, bewildering time. For months, the education system has been paralysed, with most schools shut and normal teaching suspended. Online learning is not an adequate substitute, nor can it provide the social interaction that is a vital part of growing up.
Remarkably, it is still not clear that schools will reopen in September, due to a mix of trade union militancy and Government inertia. A continued lockdown in this sector would be a disgrace. It would not only inflict further damage on the economy by preventing many parents from working, but also undermine the future life chances of pupils left in limbo.
Even before that, there is a more immediate potential crisis. Today sees the publication of A-level results, a vital annual exercise that determines the fate of thousands of school leavers. For university applicants, it is a particularly important rite of passage as they will learn if they have won a place at their chosen institution.
But this year the ritual will be very different. Because of the schools lockdown from March, no exams were held. So exam board Ofqual has calculated the results using a computer algorithm, based on a pupil’s past and predicted grades, as well as each school’s performance over the past three years.
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August 13, 2020