How will GCSE and A-Level exams change next year due to coronavirus?

Staff at One Sixth Form in Ipswich have embraced the new government measures to help GCSE and A-Level students through...

Staff at One Sixth Form in Ipswich have embraced the new government measures to help GCSE and A-Level students through exams. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Pupils will be marked more generously and those in isolation will still get their grades, as part of changes to GCSE and A-Level exams in 2021.

Graham White is from the Suffolk branch of the National Education Union. Picture: GRAHAM WHITE

Graham White is from the Suffolk branch of the National Education Union. Picture: GRAHAM WHITE - Credit: Archant

The measures have been announced by the government to combat the effects of coronavirus, and have been received well by Suffolk teachers.

The grading will be in line with that from the summer of 2020 and pupils will get advanced notice about which topic areas to focus on in revision.

Some exam aids, such as a formula sheets, will be available and back up exams will be held in July.

Suffolk teachers have expressed relief that measures have been announced well in advance and vice principal of One Sixth Form College, Jake Robson, said: “Overall it’s the news that we were expecting.

Jake Robson, vice principal at Suffolk One, welcomes the extra government measures. Picture: ROBYN SADLER

Jake Robson, vice principal at Suffolk One, welcomes the extra government measures. Picture: ROBYN SADLER - Credit: Archant


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“It’s good to have clarity and pleasing to have confirmation that exams will take place next year.

“Having a sense of purpose and a goal to work towards within education is really important and will maintain momentum for our students.”

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Mr Robson said the announcement has given everyone in the teaching community confidence to prepare for the exams next summer.

Alan Pease, deputy principal of Suffolk New College which supports students on GCSE English and maths courses, and technical, vocational and degree programmes, said: “We recognise that disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic for students of all ages up and down the country has created many challenges.

Deputy principal of Suffolk New College, Alan Pease, is pleased to hear of the extra measures. Picture: Suffolk New College

Deputy principal of Suffolk New College, Alan Pease, is pleased to hear of the extra measures. Picture: Suffolk New College - Credit: Archant

“Therefore, any national measures that the government takes to support students through the exam process amidst these difficult times are welcomed by us.”

However, Graham White, Suffolk spokesperson for the National Education Union, has said while the measures are a ‘step in the right direction’, they are nowhere near enough.

“It is really encouraging to hear the changes that are being made but there needs to be more,” he said.

“What we really want is for teacher assessment to be included in the process.

“They are the professionals and they are the ones who know their students best and know what they are capable of all year round.

“Some kids don’t test well or are predicted to do really well and then are very unpredictable on the day.”

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