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Student’s exam petition gets 160,000 signatures... and a Parliamentary debate

Student’s exam petition gets 160,000 signatures... and a Parliamentary debate

by Henry James (December 2020)

A MAGHULL student's petition calling for GCSE and A Level exams next summer to be cancelled has received 160,000 signatures and a Parliamentary debate.

Alex D’Arcy, 16, a student at Merchant Taylor’s School, started the petition in the summer of this year after becoming concerned that after pupils had missed so much schooling between March and July, that any examinations taking place in 2021 could not be fair.

The petition gained 169,000 signatures and triggered a Westminster Hall debate during which Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central where Alex lives, spoke in praise of the teenager.

Mr Esterson said: "I am incredibly proud of Alex for bringing his petition, he's done a terrific job in highlighting this issue.

“He deserves enormous credit. We should encourage our young people to do as he has done, and I hope that what he has done in getting 169,000 people to join him in signing the petition, it's the kind of impetus the Minister needs to take the action that all of our children and young people need to have a fair crack this year."

Mr Esterson added in the debate: “My constituent Alex D’Arcy who lives just round the corner from me, in fact. I’ve known him since he was about eight. He hadn’t realised how quickly this had grown. He was demonstrating his solidarity with many of his friends, people who live on the same street as him, who aren’t in such a fortunate position as he has been. He is one of only five students in his school who has not had to self isolate since going back in September. Many others have not been so fortunate, and they have not had the online support and they haven’t had the in-school support either.

“There has been a very very serious gap between those children and young people who have had very good access, like Alex, and those who in the North West, on anything up to five different occasions they’ve had to go home and self-isolate just since September. And for those children and young people it is very hard to see how they are going to catch up.”

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