Government's decision to not completely cancel vocational exams 'leads to more uncertainty' and causes more problems than it solves

05 Jan 2021

Responding to the Department for Education's decision not to cancel this month's VTQ exam series, but leave it up to colleges to decide whether to go ahead, Chief Executive of AoC, David Hughes said: 

"This response from the government will disappoint the thousands of students as well as staff  in colleges across the country who have shown how worried they are about sitting exams this month. The risk is that this continues the confusion, leads to more uncertainty for every student and puts thousands of young people and their families at risk as well as the college staff managing the exams. It has no message for students in colleges which do cancel for safety reasons and does not reflect the issue of fairness between vocational and technical students with their peers taking A Levels and GCSEs. 

Every college leader has been spending all day trying to weigh up the pros and cons of cancelling or going ahead. They were hoping that the government would be decisive, but that has not happened, and students will have to look locally for the leadership and certainty they seek. A national decision would have allowed for more fairness for all students across vocational and general qualifications - this compromise does not achieve that and I suspect that will cause more problems over the coming months. We are likely to see many colleges cancelling and some going ahead."