- GCSEs and A-Levels in 2021 will be given the topics in advance of their exams
- Education Secretary Gavin Williams has vowed not to cancel next year’s exams
- Exams in Wales have been cancelled, while Scotland will do assessments
- School league tables won’t be published and Ofsted inspections are suspended
Children with poor grades could be given asterisks next to their results even though next year’s exams will be made dramatically easier because of the Covid pandemic, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has revealed today.
Mr Williams wants to encourage universities and colleges to take asterisked children even when they fail to get the required grades because they live in areas hardest hit by coronavirus or they were forced to self-isolate.
The plan will raise fears the Government is over compensating after the summer’s A-Level and GCSE results debacles – and undermine the qualifications of children who have been at school throughout the pandemic and completed the curriculum.
Education Select Committee chair Robert Halfon warned that huge grade inflation seen this year could now be ‘baked in’, and the changed might merely ‘shift the goalposts’ without doing much to help the most disadvantaged.
A worried Tory MP told MailOnline: ‘They could get themselves in a lot of trouble over this.’
Experts have also questioned how children would be chosen, because it is not clear if the Government has any data measuring how much school Year 11 or Year 13 pupils have missed or how much class time has been disrupted.
Pupils sitting their GCSEs and A-levels in 2021 will also be told in advance the topics covered in the exam and be allowed to take study aids, such as reference sheets, into the exam room, Mr Williamson said.
But despite the biggest relaxation in exam rules in history – teaching unions are still not happy and have demanded that members must be able to tell children what will be in their GCSE or A-Level papers at least six months in advance.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: ‘It crucial that teachers are told, now, what topics will be on the exam paper. I understand that this information is not going to be released until the end of January 2021. That is too late’.