I hope you are well and feeling on top of your preparation for mocks in January. We will send detailed timetables soon. Remember we are here to help and support you so if you have any concerns, you must let us know.
Today Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced long-awaited plans for how exams will take place in 2021, following the disruption to learning caused by the Covid crisis. We thought it would be useful to provide a short bullet point summary. I am sure that you, like us, will want to know more and have queries about this but we wanted to share what we know at this stage.
- more generous grading than usual, in line with national outcomes from 2020, so students this year are not disadvantaged
- students receiving advance notice of some topic areas covered in GCSE, AS and A levels to focus revision (expected end of January)
- exam aids - like formula sheets - provided in some exams giving students more confidence and reducing the amount of information they need to memorise. For example, in modern foreign languages, students may be able to take in vocabulary sheets, too.
- additional exams to give students a second chance to sit a paper if the main exams or assessments are missed due to illness or self-isolation
- a new expert group to look at differential learning and monitor the variation in the impact of the pandemic on students across the country
- the Government has also developed a series of contingency measures with Ofqual that will mean, even if students miss one or more exams due to self-isolation or sickness but have still completed a proportion of their qualification, they will still receive a grade
- if a student misses all their assessments in a subject, they will have the opportunity to sit a contingency paper held shortly after the main exams. In the extreme case where a student has a legitimate reason to miss all their papers, then a validated teacher informed assessment can be used, only once all chances to sit an exam have passed
- grades will not be adjusted on a regional basis for areas more severely affected by the pandemic
- optionality will not be used – where students could choose which questions, they answered based on what they had covered, or where they could choose to drop certain papers has been ruled out
- the Government will set out further detail on this process, and on adaptations to exams, in the new year
As always, we will continue to support you as you prepare for exams next summer and share information as we receive it.