This year’s GCSE and A Level exams cancelled, Gavin Williamson confirms

Pupils will not have to sit the exams for a second year in a row (Picture: Getty Images)

Students in England will not have to sit A-Level and GCSE exams this year, the Department for Education confirmed this evening.

It comes after months of suggestions that the examinations should be postponed because of the pandemic’s impact of children’s education.

In a statement, the Department for Education explained: ‘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. Working alongside Ofqual, the department will consult on how to award all pupils a grade that reflects the hard work they’ve done and will continue to do.’

Asked if its position meant all GCSE and A Levels in England were being cancelled, the DfE said it had no further comment. But earlier today Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove suggested the step would be taken and exams replaced by teacher-led assessments, as happened last summer.

Meanwhile, English schools and colleges will be given the flexibility to decide whether they want to run vocational exams due to take place this month. Ministers had faced calls to cancel Btec exams scheduled for this week amid concerns over students’ safety and fairness in the wake of new restrictions.

But the Department for Education (DfE) has said schools and colleges can continue with the January exam series ‘where they judge it right to do so’.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had repeatedly insisted schools would open as planned (Picture: REX)

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will deliver a statement to MPs on Wednesday outlining a package of support for young people following the announcement that schools and colleges will close to all but vulnerable children and children of key workers in England’s third national lockdown.

In a statement, he said: ‘It is now vital that we support our young people at home, including making sure all students are receiving the best possible remote education, and that those students who were due to take exams can still progress to their next stage of education or training.

‘I know what a challenging time this is for families, young people, and for everyone working so hard in education.’

He also praised ‘the enormous lengths that teachers and support staff have gone to throughout this pandemic’ and said he wanted to make sure all students are receiving the best possible remote education – ‘and that those students who were due to take exams can still progress to their next stage of education or training.’

Schools in the devolved nations are likely to take similar steps but students there are still waiting on confirmation.

More to follow.

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MORE : Schools closed across England as third lockdown is put in force


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