A Durham school where pupils are still being taught in temporary classrooms nearly five months after the crumbling concrete crisis scandal broke has been told that allowances will not be made for its GCSE and A-level students.

After months of disruption, where students are still learning in cold buildings across multiple sites, with limited hot food, desk space, specialist equipment, SEND provision, and 1-2-1 support, Department of Education (DfE) officials have told pupils at St Leonard's School that they will not receive any exam dispensations, despite education experts advising that as much as a 10 per cent exam boos should be offered.

This is quite simply a disgrace and, as we’ve argued before, is purely a matter of fairness.

The pupils have had to endure a complete closure of their school for a week, having reduced teaching time, being in classes of up to 120, learning in sports halls with poor acoustics and not having adequate access to specialist equipment like science labs. It is unlikely that the school will be back to normal until 2026.

Anyone can see that these problems must disrupt education. These are children's life chances that are in the balance here.

Students and parents have spoken out about the stress being caused by exam uncertainty - saying they "feel abandoned" by the government, and that "morale is at an all-time low".

A grade or two the wrong way and the pupil will not get into their preferred university, or apprenticeship. They are going to be judged against their peers who have had a last year of untroubled education it is not going to be a fair comparison.

It must feel to the pupils that the system is weighted against them before they even begin. Exam results should be a true reflection of a pupil's ability, yet in these almost unique conditions that is not going to be the case.

Although the education ministers emphasised they were "sympathetic" to the situation at St Leonard's, they said that the current exam framework and regulations prevented any possible intervention by the Secretary of State without a change to the law.

Exams represent the most stressful time in a child's school life, and for students to go into them feeling undercooked because of all the disruption will increase their anxiety and so affect their performance further.

It is quite wrong for the exam boards and government to dismiss calls for these pupils to be given special consideration. They must reconsider their position.

For campaigners hoping to soothe student worries, the fight goes on.