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2021 GCSE, AS and A level exams cancelled in Wales

2021 GCSE, AS and A level exams cancelled in Wales

Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed that there will be no end of year exams for learners taking GCSEs, AS or A Levels in 2021.

Final grades are to instead be based upon teacher-managed assessments, with Ms Williams saying that it was impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams due to the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The Welsh Government is to work with schools and colleges to ensure consistency across the country, with assessments to be externally set and marked but delivered within a classroom environment under teacher supervision.

Announcing the decision, the Kirsty Williams said;

“The well-being of learners and ensuring fairness across the system is central in our decision making process.

“In line with the recommendations of both Qualifications Wales and the Independent Review, there will be no exams for GCSE or AS level learners next year. A-level students will also not be required to sit exams.

“We remain optimistic that the public heath situation will improve, but the primary reason for my decision is down to fairness; the time learners will spend in schools and colleges will vary hugely and, in this situation, it is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.

“We have consulted with universities across the UK and they have confirmed that they are used to accepting many different types of qualifications.

Assessments are expected to begin in the second half of the spring term.

The decision comes after school exams were also cancelled for summer 2020 due to the first lockdown period. According to Ms Williams, the decision to cancel exams in 2021 was made on the basis of detailed advice from Qualifications Wales and conversations with students, school and college leaders, universities and the children's commissioner in Wales.

Currently, exams in England are still set to take place, though some concerns have been raised over how this may work.

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