Exams and Accountability 2021

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:34 am on 3rd December 2020.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Education 10:34 am, 3rd December 2020

It is good to see that we have a common view—I note the chuntering from Wes Streeting, who is sat in the Opposition Chief Whip’s seat—on the importance of exams. We recognise that children will have missed out elements of the curriculum, but giving advance notice will give them and their teachers the opportunity to use that time to focus on the areas of the curriculum that they know they will be tested on. We are also recognising the importance of technical and vocational qualifications, and we will be looking at ensuring that information on those is shared at a similar time to information on GCSEs and A-levels.

The shadow Secretary of State highlighted some important issues, including the potential for extra appeals and ensuring that there are proper extra resources in place for that process; we will certainly be doing that. We recognise that there are challenges from giving extra learning time and moving most exams back by three weeks. For example, this will put added pressure on the exam boards. We are working closely with the exam boards to support them to get the right resources in place, and to deliver the grades as and when we would expect them—at the end of August.