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Labour calls for next year's A-level and GCSEs to be postponed due to impact of coronavirus on pupils

Labour are calling for next year's exams to be pushed back to help students impacted by coronavirus (PA)

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Labour are calling for next summer's A-level and GCSEs to be postponed to help pupils deal with the impact coronavirus has had on their education.

The party say students face "a mountain to climb” having lost up to six months of teaching time due to the pandemic.

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said exams in England currently scheduled for May 2021 need to be delayed until June or July.

She said: "Pupils across the country who have missed out on vital teaching time will have a mountain to climb to prepare for May exams unless the Government steps in.

"Ministers had warning after warning about problems with this year's exam results, but allowed it to descend into a fiasco.

"This is too important for Boris Johnson to leave until the last minute. Pupils heading back to school need clarity and certainty about the year ahead.”

And Labour is also urging ministers to review the existing support arrangements for post-16 students so pupils preparing to sit their A-levels are not left without help.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: ""We recognise that students due to take exams next summer will have experienced disruption to their education, which is why we prioritised bringing Year 10 and Year 12 pupils back to school last term.

"Exams will go ahead next year, and we have been working closely with the sector, Ofqual and exam boards to consider our approach.”

But Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said a delay is “not without its problems” but called Labour's suggestion “worthy of serious consideration”.

He added: "What is most important is that we don't see a repeat of this year's chaos.

"Poor planning and last-minute changes by the Government caused misery for many students. It would be indefensible if that happened again.”

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