A YOUNGSTER who says his generation is "drowning in anxiety" has joined forces with his principal calling for help from education bosses.

Concerned about the future, Tom Dower – principal of UTC South Durham, in Newton Aycliffe – and Arron Killip in Year 11, have written an open letter to Ofqual and the Department for Education asking for a more manageable way for students to complete their assessments.

Mr Dower said after awarding body discussions with Ofqual on assessment requirements for this Covid-disrupted year, the school has been told that students are expected to complete all units as in a normal year.

In the letter, titled 'Generation on Mute' Arron wrote: “Two hundred and thirty-one days, we have had reducing hope and no voice. Our generation is on mute. Nothing is dearer to us than our future; a future that is now unstable. We have been given something of a life-line – a three-week delay to exams. But does anyone really think that’s enough to steady our course?

“Who is the head that decides our fate, my fate and the fate of many others? As far as I know, they are not just about to take the exams that are set to determine their future.

“Who is the head that will listen to a generation who are drowning in anxiety? As far as I know, they have not felt the confusion and fear of missing six months of work only to be told you will sit in front of invigilators and take the exams with no regard to the trauma of this pandemic."

Mr Dower is calling on education leaders to work with schools to create a plan which will meet the needs of young people and the situation they find themselves in.

He wrote: "Please do not tell me that a three-week delay to exams is enough. Most Year 11 and 13 students across the country lost around 70 days of face-to-face learning in the first lockdown. Nine weeks in to the school year many schools have had to send those year groups home more than once. Students are working hard; I am proud of ours and I cannot fault their attitude but, as Arron articulates so well, they know that they have lost so much education.

"I have asked my staff to concentrate on the wellbeing of our students. I have asked my teachers to focus on the skills their students need for the next stages of their education or career. Neither of those is compatible with expecting them to rush through volumes of coursework and cram for a full set of exams.

"Please support us to deliver an education which works for our students at this extraordinary time in their lives."