GCSE and A-level students in England will not be asked to sit exams in summer 2021

GCSE and A-level students in England will not be asked to sit exams this summer, the government has confirmed. 

It comes after Michael Gove suggested end-of-year exams would be scrapped in favour of alternative styles of assessment following the new lockdown.

On Monday evening, the Department for Education (DfE) said: “There is recognition that this is an anxious time for students who have been working hard towards their exams.”

“The government position is that we will not be asking students to sit GCSE and A-levels.” 

The DfE said they will work with Ofqual, England’s exam regulator, to consult on how to award grades to pupils this year. 

Earlier on Monday, Mr Gove was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether A-levels and GCSEs in England were cancelled, and replied: “Yes.”

The former education secretary said: “We will be putting in place alternative arrangements in order to make sure that the hard work that students have put in to acquire knowledge and develop their skills is appropriately assessed, recognised and awarded.”

He also told Sky News that Gavin Williamson, the current education secretary, will address parliament on Wednesday to update MPs on how pupils will be assessed at the end of the year, following further disruption to their learning.

Under England’s new lockdown, schools will move to online-learning only until at least mid-February, for all students except vulnerable children and those of key workers. 

Exams were cancelled last year over coronavirus and a new grading system set up, awarding students with calculated grades. 

Student protests followed A-level results day, which saw nearly 40 per cent of marks downgraded in the controversial moderation process.

In a U-turn days after A-level results came out, the government announced A-level and GCSE pupils could use their teacher-estimated marks — Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) – if higher than moderated marks.

Additional reporting by Press Association


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