Michael Gove said Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will address a recalled House of Commons on Wednesday to update MPs on how pupils in England will be assessed at the end of the year, following further disruption to their learning.
Mr Gove told Sky News: “The Education Secretary has been talking to the exams regulator Ofqual in order that we can find a way of recognising the immense hard work that students across the country have put in this year.
“Obviously we can’t have A-levels, GCSEs or BTECs in the way that we have had them in the past but there are ways of ensuring that we can assess the work that students have done, give them a fair recognition of that and help them onto the next stage of their education.
“The Education Secretary will be saying more about that but it is critically important that parents and students recognise that their work will be recognised at the end of this year – it is not the case that anyone would, or anyone would want to, down tools as it were.
“It is critically important that children maintain their learning and we will be supporting them to do so by making it easier for more and more students to access remote learning.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said there is still “wriggle room” to make modifications to exams.
He told BBC Breakfast: “I think what will happen with the Prime Minister’s announcement is people will have heard what people wanted to hear.
“What I heard was it would not be fair to continue with the current arrangements.
“I am sure what that did was give some wriggle room to say that maybe all exams couldn’t run, that would be unthinkable, but maybe there could be some modification to exams.”
Mr Barton, said it seems “impossible” that BTEC exams can go ahead.
He said: “Well, the Government says they are happening. The trouble is that, if you were listening to the Prime Minister’s speech, you wouldn’t know that and there might be lots of young people therefore who are assuming they should be following the advice and not going to college.”
He told BBC Breakfast that exams could be replaced with assessments: “But assessments this year are going to be even more difficult than last year because we haven’t had months of children being in school in order to be assessed.”
It came as Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said there needs to be an “immediate national effort” to ensure pupils now being home-schooled have access to the right technology.
He tweeted: “We need an immediate national effort to ensure every school-age child, and every 16-18-year-old, has access to a device/data.
“I will be working with our schools, colleges and businesses to see if we can achieve this in GM.”