I am completely aware that students due to sit exams next summer have experienced considerable disruption to their education, and it is right that we give them, and their teachers, more time to prepare.
The Government have worked with the sector, Ofqual and exam boards to agree that most summer exams and assessments will start three weeks later than planned, without delaying students from progressing to their next stage of education or training. In addition to changes to the content of assessments for certain subjects set by Ofqual, this will give pupils extra time to prepare. These changes primarily relate to England, as well as students elsewhere who undertake exams offered by boards operating in England with qualifications regulated by Ofqual.
I recognise that a shorter exam window, when combined with the risk of self-isolation, may mean that some students miss exams. To mitigate this, the Education Secretary has announced that one Maths and one English GCSE paper will take place before the May half term. This will ensure there is sufficient time between papers, allowing Year 11 pupils who need to self-isolate to sit at least one paper in these core subjects.
To ensure students can begin the following academic year as normal, results days for GCSE, AS, and A levels will take place across two days in the same week of August; AS and A levels on 24 August and GCSEs on 27 August.
These arrangements are backed up by significant support to help students make up for lost teaching time. The Government have previously announced a catch-up package worth £1bn, including a ‘Catch-Up Premium’ worth £650m. The expectation is that this funding will be spent on additional support to help children and young people catch up after a period of disruption.
The Government is working closely with Ofqual over the coming weeks to engage with teaching unions, exam boards and other stakeholders to develop contingencies for all scenarios that may impede students from sitting their exams fairly.
Th Government continues to make the education of children a priority, building on the remarkable efforts of teachers, students and parents across the country in keeping children in school – and in learning – through these challenging times.