Last reviewed 16 April 2020

As we reported recently (see “Exams – what next?” and “Education Secretary’s instructions to Ofqual”), the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of exams planned for later this year.

The great majority of students who had been entered to take exams this summer will receive a grade calculated by the exam board for each of their subjects.

Students who feel that the grade does not reflect their ability. or for whom it was not possible to issue a calculated grade, will be able to take exams in the additional exams series which will be scheduled for this autumn or, if they prefer, next summer.

Ofqual has now opened a public consultation seeking comments on how it is working in line with Government policy to enable students to receive their qualification grades.

To this end, it is aiming:

  • to ensure students can receive grades in these qualifications this summer so they can progress to the next stages of their lives without further disruption;

  • that the grades will be as valued as those of any other year; and

  • that the approach will be fair.

The consultation document invites views on a number of features of the exceptional arrangements for awarding GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020.

Ofqual proposes to apply the same arrangements to Extended Project Qualifications and the Advanced Extension Award.

“Aspects of the arrangements by which students will receive results this summer have already been set out by the Government,” Ofqual notes. “However, there are implementation decisions we must make, including the changes to our regulatory framework.”

The consultation document explains which of its rules the exam body plans, temporarily, to set aside or change.

Given the importance of this subject, the consultation period would normally cover several weeks if not months but that is clearly impossible given the present circumstances.

NOTE: the deadline for comments is 29 April 2020. Respond online.