COVID has turbo-charged change in a world already in flux – how can our education system keep pace?

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By Rod Bristow, President, Pearson UK


What do the Olympics, Glastonbury, GCSEs and A levels all have in common? They were all cancelled owing to the global pandemic. But whilst Olympic hopefuls should get the chance to compete again in 2021, the situation proved more complex for UK students, who wrestled with cancelled exams and the stress of revised outcomes during the summer.

Many of us have been hit by the pandemic, but few more so than young learners. For many preparing for their next steps in life this has been a terribly difficult time. And the conversation about exams is at the centre of the storm with more people asking much more fundamental questions about A level, GCSE and BTEC.

The exams we deliver are for the ‘public good’ and it is critical we don’t just ask the questions on other people’s minds, but that we answer them too. Leading a debate about exams is now much needed.

So, over the coming weeks that’s what we are doing with the Future of Assessments project. We will engage a wide range of stakeholders: further and higher education, employers and - critically - teachers, parents and learners, to listen, and to respond. We want to hear from as many people as possible and will share details on how you can get involved when we launch our consultation early in the new year.

The UK's education system is widely respected. Our curriculum, qualifications and assessment are recognised, valued and adopted by countries around the world. They don’t just help 'the public', they help people make progress in their lives, through learning. I want this project to play a critical role in shaping the future of UK qualifications, and today we are calling on key selected experts to contribute to it. Indeed, contributions from the entire community will be welcome.

Learn more about our Future of Qualifications and Assessment research >

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