Elephant in the studio

Just after the 8am news on BBC Radio Four, an elephant entered the studio of the Today programme.

During the interview with the education secretary, it remained there, unmentioned.

The interview was about adjusting school exam practice and grading, to take into account the disruption to learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposed adjustments are to be made for all students, irrespective of the actual level of disruption experienced in a particular school or students’ access to IT and additional tuition.

The reasonable question how universally applied adjustments would help to level out the differences in learning experience for students in different regions and varying access to educational resources remained unanswered.

Over and over again, the question how the proposed adjustments will be fair, was ignored.

And this is where the elephant comes into sharp focus: it is not fair, will not be fair and never has been a level playing field for all children in Britain, nor in the world, for that matter. Never mind the particular circumstance of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current educational secretary just maintains a tradition, and that elephant remains in the room.

Some students excel in spite of the disadvantages they experiencing, others struggle to fulfil their true potential. This is our common loss, a loss for the whole society.

Featured Image: C Braungardt, South Africa 2009.

(Apologies to all elephants!)

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