Schools Minister: Exams may not be back to normal in 2022 for children disrupted by pandemic

Sophia Sleigh
·2-min read
<p>Schools Minister Nick Gibb has admitted children might face disruption to exams next year</p> (PA)

Schools Minister Nick Gibb has admitted children might face disruption to exams next year

(PA)

The row over exams was growing today as a Government minister admitted things may not be back to normal for children next year.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb revealed the Government is working on arrangements for Year 10 and 12 students due to sit their major exams next year.

It comes after it was announced that GCSEs and A-levels cancelled in England this summer will be replaced by grades decided by teachers.

Teachers will be able to choose the evidence they want to use to determine their students’ grades, according to the plan announced by watchdog Ofqual.

Mr Gibb insisted that exams are the “fairest and best” system for judging attainment but did not say if they would go ahead next year when questioned.

Asked if the Government’s intention was to go back to the old scheme of exams in 2022 and what allowances pupils might get, Mr Gibb told BBC Breakfast: “These are all very good questions.

“It’s an issue we are addressing. We know that the current Year 10s and current Year 12s have also had disruption to their education.

“For this current year we thought that we would be able to hold exams, if you think back to the autumn the plan was to have exams in 2021 and we had put in place measures to make those exams fairer given the disruption.

“So we are working now on what decisions we will take for 2022 because we know there has been disruption.

“But we will have more to say on that later in the year.”

Earlier this morning, Mr Gibb told Sky News that exams were the “fairest and best system” but that it would not be fair to hold them this year due to the disruption caused by Covid-19.

He added: “We trust the professionals - teachers are the people who know their students best and we do trust their professionalism.”

Under plans for this summer, students will not be forced to sit “mini exams”, but exam boards will publish questions that teachers can set their pupils so they have evidence to base their grades on.

These will be optional and the questions will not have to be answered under exam conditions or within a time limit.

Teachers will then also be able to look at students’ coursework, mock exam results, essays and in-class tests when determining grades.

Exam boards will also conduct their own checks, through a combination of random sampling and more targeted scrutiny where they identify cause for concern.

All students will be able to appeal their grades but they could go up or down as a result. Students and schools will not have to pay for appeals.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said “fairness and flexibility” are at the heart of the plans.

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