Education Secretary confirms exams WILL go ahead next summer

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirms GCSE and A-Level exams WILL go ahead but be delayed by three weeks next summer amid fears over lost class time for pupils

Most A-level and GCSE exams in England will be delayed by three weeks next year to allow pupils to catch up on time lost to pandemic closures, Gavin Williamson  confirmed today.

The Education Secretary also outlined plans to streamline some subjects saying it would ‘support teachers and students by freeing up valuable teaching time’.

Most exams will take place between June 7 and July 2, but Mr Williamson also said that one maths and one English GCSE exam will take place before the May half-term, to allow pupils forced to self-isolate during the main exam period a chance to sit a paper in a core subject. 

In a written ministerial statement today, Mr Williamson confirmed that he had rejected calls for the exams next summer to be scrapped or postponed for longer, as had been called for by some teaching unions.

They warned last week that moving the timing of exams back slightly was unlikely to make any significant difference to the varied learning experiences students have had this year. 

‘We know that exams are the fairest way of measuring a student’s abilities and accomplishments, including the most disadvantaged,’ Mr Williamson said.

‘We want to give our young people the opportunity next summer to demonstrate what they know and can do.’

The Education Secretary also outlined plans to streamline some subjects saying it would ‘support teachers and students by freeing up valuable teaching time’

Results days for AS/A levels and GCSEs will fall on Tuesday 24 August and Friday 27 August respectively, instead of being a week apart.

Mr Williamson’s announcement came in the wake of widespread condemnation of his handling of this years exam results.

A computer algorithm was used to estimate grades after exams were cancelled, but they had to be altered after it was found to underscore students from deprived backgrounds.

Mr Williamson added: ‘Schools and colleges have shown exams can be held, even in areas of local restriction, in the autumn exam series which is currently taking place. ‘Exams next year will be supported by contingencies for all scenarios.’

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