Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Randall of Uxbridge Lord Randall of Uxbridge Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they will make to any disparities between the length of time schools have been closed closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak when implementing the timetable the 2020/21 GCSE and A-level exams.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department recognises that students due to sit exams and assessments next year will have experienced disruption to their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The government is committed to working closely with Ofqual to ensure that next year’s exam series proceeds fairly, and students receive the qualifications they deserve. Ofqual has already consulted on a range of possible adaptations to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments next year on a subject-by-subject basis, and has announced some changes that will reduce pressure on teaching time, and help ensure those young people taking exams next year have the same opportunities to progress as the students before them.

As for the timing of exams next year, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked Ofqual in June to consider a short delay to the GCSE, A and AS level exam timetable in 2021, to free up additional teaching time. We are continuing to work with Ofqual, the exam boards, regulators in the devolved administrations, and groups representing schools, colleges and higher education to consider the best approach, and decisions will be confirmed as soon as possible.

The government has also provided a £1 billion fund of catch up premium designed to support schools in making up for some lost learning time.

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