Fears mount that Britain’s school exams could be delayed next year

Disruption could extend into 2021 after UK cancelled this year’s A-Level and GCSE tests amid coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus pandemic may affect exmas in 2021. AFP PHOTO/AMER HILABI
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Pupils in Britain may face further delays to exams as teaching unions warn the coronavirus pandemic could affect next year’s tests.

It comes as the UK cancelled A-Level and GCSE examinations in March days before the country went into lockdown.

Pupils have instead been graded by teacher assessment and others are still expected to sit the tests later this year.

But teaching unions and exam bodies have now warned 2021 exams may now also be disrupted.

Last week some schools in the UK began to reopen to pupils in certain year groups who are set to sit the key exams next year.

Exam regulator Ofqual is understood to be drawing up contingency plans for next summer’s exams, which could include delaying exams until July instead of May.

“Our overriding aim is to ensure exams and assessments are as fair as possible and we are working closely with the Department for Education, exam boards and groups representing teachers, schools and colleges to carefully consider a range of possible measures,” an Ofqual representative said.

Currently youngsters have lost months of vital learning time.

Patrick Roach, General Secretary of Nasuwt, a teachers’ union, said all options needed to be considered to ensure pupils would not be “disadvantaged”.

"Given the disruption that teachers and pupils have experienced as a result of the necessary decision to partially close schools, there will be a need for Ofqual to work with stakeholders to consider whether amendments to arrangements for qualifications next summer will be required and, if so, what these amendments should be," he told the Telegraph.

"Requirements must also be manageable for teachers and learners given the extraordinary circumstances in which schools will continue to operate.

“All options for awarding next summer that can achieve these objectives should be given active and serious consideration.”

The Department for Education is expecting that exams will take place.

“We recognise that students who are due to take exams in 2021 will have experienced disruption to their education this year and we are committed to ensuring they are not disadvantaged,” a representative said.

“We expect exams to take place next year and are working with Ofqual and the exam boards on our approach.”