Assessments: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd January 2021.

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Photo of Laura Farris Laura Farris Conservative, Newbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support private candidates who were due to sit exams in the 2020-21 academic year as external candidates.

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

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Government considers that examinations cannot be held in a way which is fair. The Department has announced that GCSE, AS and A level examinations will not go ahead this summer as planned.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has asked the Chief Regulator at Ofqual to find a clear and accessible route for private candidates, and those not in school this year, to be assessed and receive a grade. The Department and Ofqual have launched a two week consultation on how to fairly award all pupils a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives, including consulting specifically on four different approaches for private candidates to receive a grade.

The consultation can be accessed from the Ofqual website and will be open until 29 January 2021. The Department and Ofqual strongly encourage all our stakeholders, including private candidates and their parents, to respond. We will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the examinations regulator Ofqual.

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