Last reviewed 13 October 2020
Exams will go ahead next summer but most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held three weeks later to help address the disruption caused by the pandemic.
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that the summer exam series will start on 7 June and end on 2 July 2021, for almost all AS/A levels and GCSEs, with results days being Tuesday 24 August for A/AS levels and Friday 27 August for GCSEs.
Students will then be able to start the following academic year as normal.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Students have experienced considerable disruption and it’s right we give them, and their teachers, the certainty that exams will go ahead and more time to prepare.”
Schools and colleges have shown exams can be held, even in areas of local restriction, he pointed out. The autumn exam series - involving more than 20,000 entries – is already underway.
The Education Secretary has written to Ofqual to ask the regulator to work closely with him, school and further education leaders, exam boards, unions and the higher education sector to develop these arrangements.
Ofqual has said that it strongly supports the revised timetable, given that exams are the fairest way to assess what students know and can do.
It also said that students studying level 1 and 2, and level 3 vocational and technical qualifications instead of, or alongside, GCSEs, AS and A levels and needing their results to progress, will receive their results no later than their peers.
The Government will engage widely with the sector over the next six weeks to identify any risks to exams at a national, local, and individual student level, and consider measures needed to address any potential disruption.
This could be a student unable to sit exams due to illness or self-isolation, or schools affected by a local outbreak during the examination season meaning centres cannot open.
One maths and one English GCSE exam will be held just before the May half-term, giving any Year 11 pupils who are affected by Covid-19 the best possible chance of still sitting a paper in each of these core subjects.
More detail will be published later in the Autumn but the Government has already confirmed that no further subject-level changes to exams and assessments will be made for GCSEs, AS and A levels.