Education experts in part of West Yorkshire say they expect pupils taking GCSE exams might study narrower subject areas from January, to make up for missed school days over the past 18 months.

The Government announced during the summer that it would return to regular exams for the 2021/22 academic year, but some councillors are worried this could severely harm grades.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s Children Scrutiny Board, Coun Julie Heselwood (Lab) said: "I understand the measures put in place, and hopefully we will have little disruption this academic year, but on the GCSE exams that are taking place later this year, I am extremely worried. We have had two years of teachers predicting grades.

"Teacher assessment is not a bad thing in my opinion, however, the Government has said we are going to go back to exams this year. We are going to see a drop in exam results."

She said many children going into year 11 will have had two years without an appropriate quiet place to learn at home.

"I am really concerned about year 11s and their GCSEs," she added. "They are going to have to sit their exams and they haven't done all the learning they need to do, the Government hasn't said anything on this yet other than that they are going to sit exams.

"We know it is going to have an impact on grades because of these 115 days of learning these young people have missed."

Citing a consultation last year by the Department for Education on the 2022 exams, Erica Hiorns, a school improvement advisor at Leeds City Council, said: "They are proposing to cut down on the amount of things children will be examined on, and that will become public in January.

"The reason for the lateness of that is that they don't want to lead to any curriculum narrowing before then.

"The emphasis is on schools and collages trying to teach as much as they can of the syllabus, but to say 'these are the things that will be examined' in January, so at that point schools and collages can have a more focussed look at areas.

"The results of that consultation have yet to come out, but that looks like the most likely thing. It won't be quite as broad a scope children will be examined on."

She added a "plan B" was being called for by unions and councils in case examinations could not go ahead at the end of the current academic year.

The comments came during a discussion on learning during Covid-19, and an update from senior councillors and officers on how the first week of the new school term had been handled.

Leeds City Council deputy leader Coun Jonathan Pryor (Lab) said: "Over the past week a lot of schools have been staggered, but they are all back now. There have been no reports of schools being closed.

"The biggest issue is the announcement from govt yesterday tht children aged 12-15 will be able to get their covid jab shortly. We are awaiting further guidance from Government on that."

Saleem Tariq, the council's director of children and families, said: "It's still an unpredictable place to be, so while we are trying to plan ahead and pull together a learning strategy around education, it is a very changing environment. Schools are back in and everyone is doing okay, but it remains to be seen how the infection rates progress now."

Shaheen Myers, Leeds City Council's deputy director of learning, said: "Our children have been positive in coming back to school, I think they have been very keen to get back into their friendship circles and with their peers."