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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it would not be “possible or fair” for all exams to go ahead as normal in the summer, adding: “The Education Secretary will work with Ofqual to put in place alternative arrangements.” One option being considered is for examinations to be held for core subjects, like English and maths, and other subjects assessed through coursework.
However, Government guidance suggests exams tabled for January will continue as scheduled which, according to the Association of Colleges, involves more than 135,000 students.
The Birmingham Mail reported Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana as saying: “The government has announced that summer exams will be cancelled – but nothing has been said about January BTEC exams that begin this week and affect over 135,000 students. Treat all students equally and cancel BTEC exams immediately, @GavinWilliamson.”
She added: “Government guidance states “public exams & vocational assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned.”
“Struggling to see how this makes any sense with a national lockdown & advice to “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives”.”
Chief executive David Hughes has called for a rethink, saying: “I think they should be cancelled – it is not safe for them to go ahead and it is not fair for students nor for staff.
“The Prime Minister has said that everyone should stay at home as much as possible, so how can he expect college staff to go in to invigilate, or students to feel safe enough to sit exams?”
When asked if GCSEs and A Levels would be cancelled, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said on Radio 4’s Today programme: “Yes.”
He added: “My own daughter is due to sit A-levels this year, my son due to sit GCSEs – I know how hard pupils across the country between Years 11 and 13 have been working.
“We will be putting in place alternative arrangements in order to make sure that the hard work that students have put in to acquire knowledge and develop their skills is appropriately assessed, recognised and awarded.”
Mr Gove said the full details are being worked out between Ofqual and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
He added: “One of the things about assessment is that it necessarily involves those students doing particular tasks which teachers will assess. Whether or not they are moderated in a particular fashion by particular awarding bodies or others is a delicate process.”
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