With the introduction of another lockdown and the cancellation of exams this Summer there is understandably a lot of confusion for students who plan to take their exams this year. We have been monitoring the situation closely to ensure we can help all our candidates at this stressful time. Below we have detailed what we know so far about how qualifications will be awarded this year.

GCSEs and A Levels

Since the Government’s announcement that the Summer exams will not go ahead the Department for Education and Ofqual have launched a consultation on how GCSE’s and A Level grades should be awarded. There are four possible approaches being considered for awarding grades to private candidates. These are;

  1. for private candidates to complete a set of papers (aka “mini-tests”) created by the exam boards for use in centres. These “mini-tests” are likely to be a combination of questions from past papers and new questions. They would be completed during a designated time frame in centre as late as possible in the academic year and marked by the exam boards, along with any completed non-exam assessment, if applicable. The exam board would issue a grade to the private candidate based on their performance.
  2. for private candidates to work with a centre willing to assess the standard at which they are performing, using the same type of evidence that school and colleges are considering for their students. For private candidates this would most likely be formal mock examinations completed in-centre and marked internally.
  3. for the exam boards to run normal exams for private candidates to take in the summer of 2021.
  4. for the exam boards to run normal exams for private candidates to take in the autumn of 2021.

We strongly advise all private candidates to have their say on this consultation. Click on this link to complete the survey. This consultation is open until 11.45pm on Friday 29th January. The full consultation document can be found here.

Once the consultation period has ended the Department of Education and Ofqual will decide on one of the four approaches for all private candidates. The final decision will be announced the week commencing Monday 22nd February.

Obviously, our preferred option would be option 3, as from our point of view this is what we normally do at our Exam Centre. We already have our arrangements in place for the Summer series and created a COVID safe environment at our Centre during the Autumn Exam series . This option would allow private candidates to achieve their grades this Summer and move on to Further or Higher education in September.

Whichever option is eventually chosen we will be here to help our private candidates to achieve their qualifications.

IGCSEsThree young people sitting an exam

IGCSE qualifications are not part of the consultation as both Cambridge and Edexcel/Pearson have indicated that they intend to run the May/June 2021 Examination Series for all IGCSE qualifications as normal. This is great news for our candidates studying for these qualifications. We are ready to run this exam series at our Centre with all arrangement in place.

Entry Deadline

The entry deadline for all qualifications, GCSEs, IGCSEs and A Levels is Friday 12th February. We are experiencing high demand for places and with reduced capacity, due to desks having to be 2m apart, we advise all students to register ASAP. For many subjects, particularly GCSE and IGCSE Maths there are a limited number of spaces left and these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

We are here to help you

The COVID pandemic has had a huge impact on exams. We would like to reassure all our candidates that we will do our very best to help you get your grades this year. We have worked hard to make our Centre safe and look forward to welcoming at least some students for their exams this Summer. As soon as we have further updates on the way forward, we will let you know. Just Get in Touch if you have any further questions.