Government announce delays to 2021 exams in England

October 14th, 2020

The UK government has announced that AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held three weeks later than usual to help address the disruption caused by the pandemic.

This means that summer exam series will now start on 7 June and end on 2 July for almost all AS/A levels and GCSEs. Results days will also change to Tuesday 24 August for A/AS levels and Friday 27 August for GCSEs.

The government also confirmed that no further subject-level changes to exams and assessments will be made for GCSEs, AS and A levels. This follows a public consultation carried out by the exams’ regulator, Ofqual, earlier this year. Ofqual has also consulted on how assessments of vocational and technical qualifications will be adapted to free up teaching time and respond to any future public health measures.

For Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs), it is expected that for the majority that are taken alongside or instead of GCSEs, AS and A levels, awarding organisations will look to align timetables with 2021 exams. Students studying level 1 and 2, and level 3 VTQs instead of, or alongside, GCSEs, AS and A levels and needing their results to progress, will receive their results no later than their peers.

According to the statement from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, more detail will be published later in the autumn, to ensure students have confidence that they will be fairly treated in terms of assessment in 2021.

The Education Secretary has also written to Ofqual to ask the regulator to work closely with him, school and further education leaders, exam boards, unions and the higher education sector to develop these arrangements. In a separate statement, Ofqual welcomed the announcement and outlined its “strong support” for the revised timetable.

Finally, the statement highlighted the government’s £1 billion “Covid catch up fund”, aimed at helping to tackle the impact of lost teaching time. The programme includes a £650 million catch up premium to help schools support all pupils and £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged students.

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