Students fear 'no tolerance' approach to marking on return to school, reveals leader

7 March 2021, 11:30

By Seán Hickey

The leader of a student-led action group shares the concerns of many pupils returning to the classroom.

Aliya York is an A-Level Student and founder of Pupil Power, a youth-led movement re-imagining education in the 21st century.

"For me personally," Aliyah told Natasha Devon, "I've not been able to settle fully into online learning." The head of the pupil's organisation welcomed the return to school, but stressed that some issues need to be ironed out to reassure students.

"I'm really worried that there's going to be this expectation that I'll have had to, you know, made sure that I was up to date with absolutely every piece of work."

She feared that schools could adopt a "no tolerance," approach to learning despite the struggles experienced by students for the last year.

Ms York admitted that she is "really worried" that the plight of students won't be taken into consideration when they are assessed by their teachers.

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"Overall I just want to stay positive and hope that this is the right decision."

Natasha pointed out that the media narrative must have been a cause for concern for students as the idea that education would return to normal was teased.

"That cannot be the approach that we step forward with," Ms York admitted, adding that "normal is scary, normal is problematic," especially on the tail end of a pandemic.

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She noted that students "can't go back to school on Monday" as if the last year hasn't happened, telling Natasha that "students have different needs now" than in 2019.

Ms York welcomed the discussion with Natasha, noting that "it's really important to speak for both ends," when considering the reopening of schools, and "the way to do that is to get young people to talk for themselves."

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