The government has made its best efforts to keep schools open but the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some pupils having more time in schools than others. Schools across the U.K. have implemented a year group bubble system in an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines and keep the virus from spreading. This is a commendable attempt but sadly many pupils are still being affected. If a child tests positive for COVID-19 their whole year group has to quarantine – which means two weeks out of school. A recent poll revealed that the rate of absence across schools in the U.K. has risen to 22%. This is a substantial amount of lost time and it may happen multiple times within the school year. This fact has lead expects to make hard decisions about the 2021 GCSE exams.
As we all know, the 2020 GCSE and A-Level exams were cancelled, leaving many pupils devastated. Unfortunately, life has not returned to normality so governments across the U.K. are making adjustments. Scotland and Wales have made the bold move to cancel the 2021 GCSE exams on the basis that it is not possible to conduct them in a fair, traditional way. England still plans to proceed with the exams but with uncertain state of the world it’s hard to know if they will actually happened. Critics are urging for all exams to be cancelled nationwide.
Teachers across the U.K. are emphasising the importance of home learning, homework and mock exams. Failure to complete these could cost you your grades.
You must submit the homework you are set. The quality of your homework will be considered when teachers write reports about your work ethic and character. Completing homework is not just a cruel way teachers try to punish you. It’s much deeper than that. It consolidates what you’ve learned but also instils discipline and hard work. Though grades are important, future educational institutions and employers are also concerned with how you are. It is crucial to have a solid character. Being self motivated and hardworking are qualities we all admire so train yourself.
All schools are using online resources to set class work and homework. These resources are not to be ignored, especially if you are quarantined at home. There are ebooks, YouTube videos and PowerPoint slides you can complete while at home to ensure you’re not falling behind. However, it is clear that nothing compares to classroom learning but many teachers are doing live or prerecorded lessons to compensated for this. These lessons allow you to get a clear break from from your teacher rather than trying to work it out yourself. Teachers aren’t creating these lessons in vain. They are valuable resources so treat them as such.
Mock exams have never been so important. They are not longer a time to muck about and walk in unprepared. Gone are the days where comments like ‘I didn’t even revise for this’ can be laughed off. Just ask the 2020 cohort. Mock exams grades could very well be your final results. The results you will have to present when you’re applying for higher education or internships. So they must be the most accurate representation of your ability. Put yourself in good standing for the best opportunities out there. Take this seriously – your future steps depend on it.
By: Taiwo Bali