Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) have decided that exams will be replaced by grades decided by teachers this summer. This follows a joint Ofqual and DfE consultation into how grades should be assessed following multiple, prolonged periods of school, college and sixth form closures and remote learning.
What do we know so far?
- Schools, colleges and sixth forms will use a combination of mock exams, coursework and essays to decide grades.
- There will be optional assessment set by exam boards for all subjects but they will not be taken in exam conditions or decide final grades. There are no fixed time limits for their duration and they will be marked by teachers. These questions papers will be sent to school by Easter.
- Schools will not be expected to keep in line with last year’s results or any earlier year.
- Grades will need to be submitted to exam boards by 18th June 2021.
- A-level results day will be 10th August 2021, with GCSEs results given out on 12 August 2021 to allow time for students to appeal.
- Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also announced exams will be replaced by teacher-assessed grades.
- Teachers’ grades will be used to replace written vocational exams, in the same way as GCSEs and A-levels.
- Some practical and hands-on skills will continue in a Covid-safe settings.
What have Ministers said?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “no child should be left behind as a result of learning lost during the pandemic” with a “fair and flexible system” to allow students to “progress to the next stage of their education or career”.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said “Students will receive grades awarded by teachers, with pupils only assessed on what they have been taught”.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said this is “the best system possible to ensure there is consistency and fairness in how teachers submit grades for their students”.