There’s been speculation that schools could reopen as soon as April 20. Certainly, Public Health England suggested at the start of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend that schools could reopen in a few weeks.
However, leading teaching union General Secretaries – from both the NAHT and ASCL unions – want schools to reopen before the summer, rather than waiting until September.
There is a specific concern for vulnerable children.
Summary agency positions for when our schools will reopen
In summary, there are conflicting views from the key decision-making authorities:
- Scientific advice is that schools must return once safety is guaranteed – even if it’s for a very limited period before the summer holiday.
- Teacher Unions are lobbying the government to reopen schools for a “limited period” before the summer holidays if scientific advice says it is safe to do so.
- The Department for Education wants pupils return for a number of weeks during the summer term to “reacquaint themselves with the educational environment”.
- According to Paul Cosford, Emeritus Medical Director, easing the lockdown for the young first was being considered as part of exit plans going forward.
How will 2020 grades be decided?
It depends where you live in the UK. Schools and colleges will be asked to give estimates of their students’ grades, with qualifications regulators and exam boards making sure this is done fairly. However, details of the arrangements for 2020 differ across the four nations. Check out our handy guide to grading to get the lowdown on plans where you live.
Currently, the plan is to award GCSE and A level students grades at the usual time.
The largest pill to swallow for pupils taking school exams this year is the use of ‘evidenced assessment’. In summary:
- Unhappy pupils will still be able to take exams in September, or sooner if schools have reopened.
- Any pupils still unhappy with their results can resit their exams in summer next year.
This system of “moderated assessment” was set out by the exam regulator Ofqual yesterday, two days after this year’s GCSE and A level exams were cancelled. Schools shut to most pupils yesterday afternoon.
2020 School exams changes due to Coronavirus
Different exam boards for school and university exams
Below you will find links to the different exam board websites, where updates will be provided as they become official. Some of these also provide access to past papers.
Teachers will submit information to exam boards about students’ mock exam results and “non-exam assessment”, meaning their classwork and homework. Exam boards will use this information, as well as other data on a pupil’s “prior attainment”. Data on prior attainment could include both official exam grades and informal tests taken in school. To inform their decision on an A-level grade, an exam board would look at what a student got in the same subject for their GCSEs, and for a GCSE grade a board would gather information from teachers about any internal tests the student has done in that subject.
- This year’s A-Levels are to be graded using evidenced assessment. This means teachers will grade their own pupils.
- Then the plan is for A Level exam boards to combine such teacher grades with other data to calculate a final grade.
- Results need to be ready by the end of July.
- Like this year’s A-Levels, the Government has announced that GCSE’s will also be marked using evidenced assessment.
- According to Ofqual, teacher grades are to include mock exam results and marks from submitted work.
2020 School exams changes due to Coronavirus
What about Universities?
Most Universities are now using online assessments. Compared to what our schools face – this is an easier proposition at degree level.
- University students have been sent home.
- No more face to face teaching will happen this term.
- Probably not next term either – certainly not next half-term if we choose to go on our Prime Minister’s 12-week indicator. Students have been told that summer exams will be online. Students will not return to their universities until Autumn.
What about University Admissions?
- In normal years, University relies on a very familiar A-Level system.
- Last week, we learned that Universities can:
- Rely on offers already made
- Adopt the Government’s own system (once they have one)
Hannah from Talent & Career is offering short Careers Guidance sessions, via Skype. Aimed at those students who have missed their guidance sessions because of the schools’ closure and also to any others who now have concerns about their plans in the light of there being no summer exams.
To book in please complete a contact form on her website.
Also, make sure to read Hannah’s guest blog on Career Guidance.