This question, and what it entails, is explored by Keira, Young Healthwatch volunteer
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students in Year 11 and Year 13 have seen years of studying and revision amount to nothing, after all exams were cancelled. I can only imagine how heartbroken and destroyed so many must feel. The government has now implemented a new way for people to be graded to give them the qualifications they need for the future.
But here I am, a Year 10 with only around a year left of secondary school, I set myself high standards, so this year was to be dedicated to learning as much as I can for my exams, though now I am left wondering how on earth I am to achieve my goals when at least three of the most important months of my learning have been turned on their head.
The Year 11’s of my school had finished their mocks before we left for quarantine so had new, more accurate target grades set, that have contributed greatly to their final grade. I don’t know about any other schools, but at Queensbury Academy Year 10’s were due to sit their first mocks in June, meaning our current target grades are based on our Year 6 English and maths mocks.
Not only can I proudly say I have greatly improved since Year 6, but I told my French teacher that using ‘English’ grades to judge my French ability is like training someone in the Navy and expecting them to fly for the RAF! Everybody has preferred subjects that they personally excel in, this makes target grades useless.
For now, my days have been filled with online school work, mostly consisting of revision workbooks and teachers setting work just for the sake of it. A few teachers have been adventurous, attempting to teach new topics, supporting us as much as possible through e-mail. GCSEpod, Seneca and BBC Bitesize have become my best friends, and yet still I believe there is only so far I can go without someone by my side to mentor me.
From my tone it is probably obvious that this stresses me greatly. I am normally the one in my friend group who tries not to stress over exams and calm down my peers, but I still care, and the way the structure of our exams is fracturing there is a common feeling of dread. When I asked what they think of the 2021 exams, the answers were all somewhere between “I dread to think” and “an utter disgrace”.
Whilst trying to stay positive one question keeps ringing in my head, what will they do about GCSE’s 2021 onward? Maybe lower grade boundaries or postpone exams. Surely, they can’t just do nothing about it. Because one thing cannot be ignored, it is not the same as in previous years.
So, for now, all we can do is study and try our best and cling onto hope and that we are all in this together.