With false promises, constant U-turns and seemingly repeated mistakes, students are tired.

Since the March lockdown, after the initial COVID outbreak, pupils have been suspended in uncertainty regarding their education, especially those preparing to face up to public exams.

Early January has never been a cheerful time, with post-Christmas gloom, dark mornings and the return to work. However, news of another lockdown invited further public distress.

On December 3rd, Gavin Williamson promised that 2021 GCSE and A-level examinations would ‘absolutely’ go ahead. Just a month later, this ‘cast-iron’ promise vanished as Boris Johnson confirmed that the exams will ‘not go ahead as currently planned’. Coming so soon after the effective cancellation of Christmas, this left school pupils across the country frustrated and confused.

So, what would GCSE students like to see from the government?  When a sample of GCSE students were asked what they would do if in Gavin Williamson’s position, the answer was simple: ‘give us answers’. Before announcing something as significant as the cancellation of exams, you should have initial plans in place to guide and reassure pupils anxious about teacher-assessed grades. In addition, precautions should be put in place now for next year’s pupils, so exams aren’t cancelled 3 years in a row.

What would have occurred if these exams had gone ahead? Online learning has led to extreme differences in the quality of teaching received by different groups of pupils. In circumstances where a minority of lucky pupils have access to a timetable via Zoom calls, whilst many others have been told to self-teach, exams going ahead would have been simply unjust.

In the third lockdown, our youths’ mental health is at stake more than ever, and holding them in this state of worry is damaging.

Though unable to vote, we see the lies. We’re exhausted.