A GRIEVING grandson had no choice but to miss his beloved grandfather’s funeral in order to sit a GCSE exam.

Jordan Toft, 16, had hoped to make the 450 mile round trip from Clacton to York to pay a heartfelt farewell to his granddad Clifford.

Clifford died in April after a lengthy struggle with dementia. He was 74.

His grief-stricken widow, Sandra, had hoped her only grandson would be able to make the funeral, which was held last month.

But she was shocked to be informed there was no way to defer a crucial English exam which clashed with the family’s travel plans.

“He was like a dad to him,” said Sandra. “He has been unwell for ten years and Jordan was really upset. I don’t think he has grieved properly.

“I don’t think he can cry or let it go, he has too much on his plate with the exams.

“He wanted to go to the funeral but in the end I said ‘Stay there, because that is what your grandad would have wanted’.

“I wanted him there with me to say goodbye, but he had no choice really.”

Sandra, who was married to Clifford for 55 years, added: “He has told me he hasn’t done very well and I’m not surprised.

“I am worried about the pressure being put on him with exam stress and worrying about his grandad.”

Sandra and Clifford had lived in Brightlingsea until the move to York five years ago.

Clifford had worked for Benhams, of Colchester, and later Essex County Newspapers.

Neil Gallagher, headteacher at Clacton County High, said the school had made an application for special consideration on Jordan’s behalf.

He added the school had engaged with the family to try to find a way forward but the travel plans could not be rearranged.

He added: “It is a stressful time for all students taking these exams and unfortunately coursework has been all but stamped out, leaving candidates with this high-stakes process.

“Consequently the decisions a 16-year-old has to make hinges on this moment.”

Coursework was scrapped for most GCSE subjects in 2017 alongside exam modules, leaving a candidate’s final results hinging on exams taken at the end of a two-year course.

A spokesman for Government exam regulator Ofqual said: “Linear assessment has led to an exam system that is fairer overall, removing the opportunity for some schools to provide additional guidance and support for learners during non-exam assessments.

"This has meant that there is a greater focus on final exam outcomes, though.

“We’ve been conscious of the pressures on learners associated with taking lots of final exams at the end of a course of study and before this year’s summer exams we produced a series of blog posts on dealing with stress associated with them.”