Students: Employment and Higher Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that (a) private candidates and (b) home-schooled students do not miss out on a place at college or university, or employment, as a result of not having a centre assessment grade.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) private candidates and (b) home schooled students who are missing out on a place at college or university, or employment, as a result of not having a centre assessment grade.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Where schools and colleges had accepted entries from external candidates (students who they have not taught themselves because they have been home educated or studying independently), those students should have been included in the process of producing centre assessment grades (CAGs), where the head teacher or principal was confident that they and their staff had seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgement.

Ofqual and the exam boards explored the options for those students who did not have an existing relationship with an exam centre and who needed results this summer for progression purposes. The Joint Council for Qualifications published guidance for exam centres on accepting private candidates which set out the options that would be available. Ofqual asked organisations that represent higher and further education earlier in the year to consider the steps that they could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any external candidates who do not receive a grade. Ofqual informed the Department that they believed that institutions would consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible. The Government asked universities to be as flexible as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to minimise the impact of the pandemic on young people’s education and progression.

Students who were unable to receive a grade will need to sit exams, either in the autumn exam series or in summer 2021. Exams will be available in all GCSE, AS and A level subjects in the autumn. We have made clear that we expect schools and colleges that had accepted entries from private candidates in the summer to enter them into exams in the autumn where the students wish to sit an exam, and we have put in place arrangements to ensure that there are no financial barriers to them doing that.

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