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Pupils: Long Covid

Question for Department for Education

UIN 56448, tabled on 15 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) assistance and (b) support his Department plans to make available to pupils sitting GCSE's who have been diagnosed with Long Covid.

Answered on

25 October 2021

The department recognises that those taking examinations and assessments in 2022 have had considerable disruption to their education. In response to this, we have consulted on and announced a range of adaptations to examinations. Full details of these adaptations are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-changes-to-the-assessment-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2022/outcome/decisions-proposed-changes-to-the-assessment-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2022.

Reflecting that we are in a COVID-19 recovery period, Ofqual have also announced that 2022 will be a transition year for grading, setting out its plans for a mid-point between 2021 and pre-COVID grades. The department is confident that despite the disruption they have faced, students taking GCSEs and other qualifications next year will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills fairly to progress to the next stage of their lives.

We have also committed to an ambitious education recovery plan, including announcing investment of over £3 billion, which includes our ambitious tutoring programme, to support children and young people make up for disruption to their learning during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department understands that examinations and assessments might be particularly challenging for pupils who have been diagnosed with long COVID, and long COVID should be treated in line with other medium to long term health conditions. Alongside the above arrangements for 2022 and in accordance with normal years, reasonable adjustments to examinations should be put in place, where appropriate, for pupils with long-term illnesses. Parents and pupils should discuss whether any reasonable adjustments would be appropriate with their school or college. Further information about reasonable adjustments and the roles of exam boards, schools and colleges are available here: https://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration. The NHS have also published guidance to those recovering from long COVID at: https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/what-is-covid-19/long-covid/.

Schools should also refer to the guidance on supporting pupils with medical conditions, which aims to ensure that all pupils with physical and mental health conditions, are properly supported in schools so they can play a full and active role in school life and achieve their academic potential. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.