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Holbeach school implements additional safety measures so pupils can take BTEC exams

A South Holland school has implemented additional safety measures to ensure students can take vocational exams this winter.

While the Government has cancelled GCSE and A-Level exams which were planned for the summer, qualifications such as BTECs are permitted to take place in January and February at the discretion of individual schools.

University Academy Holbeach is among a vast number of schools around the country which has implemented
additional measures so youngsters can still sit the exams if parents agreed.

UAH (15602527)
UAH (15602527)

Executive principal Steve Baragwanath said that letters were sent to parents as soon as possible to outline the situation with 39 out of 41 students undertaking an exam on Thursday last week.

He said: “I am pleased that we gave people the choice as 39 out of 41 students took that opportunity. There is still a desire for the vast majority to sit the exam.

“We will keep reviewing it on a case by case basis.”

UAH principal Steve Baragwanath. (19104514)
UAH principal Steve Baragwanath. (19104514)

Last week the Government announced the imposition of another lockdown with strict rules, which
included the closure of schools to all but key workers’ children in order to
reduce social contacts
between different households.

While the Government made a decision on GCSEs and A-Levels, no clarity was given to schools about the
impact of this latest lockdown on students currently taking BTEC exams.

Exam boards were also
unable to give any clarity on the consequences for
students who will not be taking these vocational exams.

University Academy Holbeach gave parents the option to pull their child from the exam but also introduced the array of safety measures for those who wished to continue.

These included:

  • All students to arrive via separate entrances;
  • Wearing face masks and hand sanitisation;
  • Pupils are asked to report directly to the exam room;
  • Seating in the exams is 3m apart;
  • Students can also wear their face masks once theexam has started;
  • Parents are asked to collect their children as soon as possible.

Mr Baragwanath added: “People need to stick together and work together then we will get through it for the best out come for the children.”

Parent Jess Glue, whose daughter Neive Corry is in Year 11 at the UAH, feels the Government is sending out mixed messages to parents.

She said: “I think it is a disgrace. They are saying they are closing the schools because it is not safe but then they are saying it is safe for kids to sit in a hall with a 200 students.

“It is bonkers.”

Miss Glue had praised the UAH but says her daughter feels let down by the Government.

She said: “The UAH have been brilliant as they set up online learning as soon as possible.

“They are abiding by the Government guidelines as the Government tells schools what to do.

“This Government has not put anything in place for BTECs.”

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