HEADTEACHERS have welcomed the 'human touch' allowed by teachers determining final exam grades this year for secondary school pupils amid the pandemic.

The government has announced that grades will be based on mock exam and coursework performance, with the final overall grade being issued early to give a longer timeframe for GCSE and A Level teenagers to appeal decisions.

Last year, severe criticism of what Boris Johnson later dubbed 'a mutant algorithm' to predict grades led to a U-turn but many teachers and pupils branded the situation a fiasco.

Gareth Doodes, headmaster at The King’s School, said: “My colleagues and I are relieved that the period of uncertainty over the summer exams is over, and we can fully get to grips with how our pupils will be assessed. There’s a lot to take in, but the systems we’ve put in place are robust, and we’ll utilise evidence from mocks and other non-exam assessment to work out grades which will be awarded by teachers and then scrutinised by a comprehensive internal moderation system in addition to being passed by heads of department and members of the senior leadership team.

READ MORE: Health chiefs say county CCG 'leading the way' with vaccination programme

READ MORE: ‘I came close to losing my life’ - Malvern woman's messages of support

“We are determined to make this work, and to ensure it is a fair reflection of our pupils’ abilities. I have every confidence in staff and the work that my pupils have been undertaking both in school and remotely. Candidates have demonstrated resilience, determination and great industry: parents and the school couldn’t ask for more -we are extremely proud of them.”

Andy Dickenson welcomed the move and said teacher-led assessment will give the “human touch”.

Dr Dickenson said: “We broadly welcome the flexibility, to be based on evidence throughout the course, with assessment based on what pupils have been taught. There has to be some accountability with moderation of grades. It’s early days and there is a lot to work out and we need more guidance on how the gradings will exactly be determined - but at least there is the ‘human touch’ this year.”

Last year, Neil Morris, head at Christopher Whitehead Language College, called the system at the time “shambolic”, and said he was extremely disappointed for his students, while Ed Senior, principal of Worcester Sixth Form College, condemned the “injustice” of a system based on “bell curves and algorithms”.