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The Thoughts of our Founder on the Potential to Change the Ages Kids Take Their Exams.

One small solution for positive change in our schools, post-Covid, could be to decouple the age a child is, with the assessment level they are expected to sit: SATs at 11, GCSEs at 16 and A Levels at 18.

If we can remove the stigma around students taking an extra year or two to be truly ready for their assessment hurdles, we'll have better outcomes, especially after the chasm that's been opened by Covid-19. Should we now say: 'concentrate on getting those grades' or 'you must still get those grades by this age'?

We have forms of it already but they signify assumed intelligence and assumed failure in early entries and retakes.

We know students born late in the academic year, summer babies, underperform in primary as they haven't had as much exposure as autumn babies to learning opportunities. Our children missing out today will suffer similarly.

Getting a level 5 at 16 or 17 doesn't make a difference in a 50-working-year adult life, but makes a huge difference if 16 was the only real chance to get through, keeping in mind retake pass rates for maths at college are only 18.2%.

This disaggregation could help us recover and grow post-Covid 19, and be in place for Covid-20.


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