The majority of teachers think students will underperform in next year’s exams because of a backlog of teaching created by the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll shows.
Almost two-thirds of teachers in deprived schools said their students were not on track to meet their potential next summer, versus 53 per cent of teachers overall.
Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has already suggested that GCSE and A-level assessments exams could be pushed back to give teachers more time to finish courses.
The Government is consulting on how best to avoid a repeat of this year’s exam results fiasco, which resulted in a humiliating U-turn after 40 per cent of results were downgraded by an algorithm designed to make them fairer.
Today’s poll, which was commissioned by the Publishers Association, also found that just 7 per cent of teachers in England's most disadvantaged schools felt that they could send students home with all the resources they would need in the event of a local lockdown or outbreak in the school.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "Our biggest concern is over the likelihood of significant and ongoing disruption caused by Covid over the next few months which has the potential to cause serious disadvantage to some students who are taking GCSEs and A-levels in 2021.
"Students who have to self-isolate, or are affected by lockdowns, will inevitably cope to varying degrees with having to learn from home depending on factors such as being able to access online resources and how conducive their home environment is to learning.
“Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to be the most adversely affected."
The Publishers Association used its findings to call on the Government to increase funding for school resources.
Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said the exams next year would become “a measure of the disruption caused by Covid rather than what pupils are capable of”.
Dr Bousted called for “radical thinking” to address the issue.
A Department for Education spokesman said a “short delay” to exams was under consideration and pointed to a £1bn “Covid catch-up package” issued to schools.