March 11, 2021
Education Minister needs to give young people a break on exam evidence – Brogan

Sinn Féin MLA Nicola Brogan has said the Education Minister needs to give young people a break and expand the definition of grade evidence. 

The West Tyrone MLA was speaking after hearing evidence from representatives of the Secondary School Students’ Union and mental health youth organisations who briefed the Education Committee on challenges facing pupils returning to school, including those whose future rests on grades to be awarded later this year. 

The party’s spokesperson for Children and Young People said: 

“A lack of trust in both pupils and their teachers is risking another grade award fiasco this year. The decision to disregard work completed by pupils as part of their remote learning is another example of mistrust at the heart of the current approach. 

“Rather than recognising difficulties experienced by pupils struggling in the midst of a pandemic  to progress their education outside the classroom, the Minister of Education appears preoccupied with imagined fears.

“Last year it was grade inflation by ‘over generous’ teachers, now it’s questioning the validity of work completed at home. 

“It is unreasonable to expect young people to sit classroom tests within days of returning to school, yet that’s what committee members heard is scheduled to happen to some students.  

“Young people are telling us loud and clear, the pandemic has damaged their wellbeing and increased mental health difficulties. 

“The Minister needs to give our young people a break, expand the definition of grade evidence to include essays submitted during school closures and trust the judgment of their teachers.”

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