Exams are cancelled for 2021 - what families need to know

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Published on 07/01/21

We wanted to update families regarding the government’s approach to national exams in 2021. Below, we have included a round-up of the changes to primary, secondary and sixth form exams, as we know many of our families have children in different year groups.

  • Year 6 Sats tests, which take place in primary schools in 2021, are cancelled.
  • GCSE and A-level exams, due to take place in 2021, are cancelled.
  • BTEC exams, due to take place in 2021, can go ahead in some schools. Our schools will contact families directly.

At the moment the exams regulator, Ofqual, are creating a plan for how grades will be decided.

We would like our families to keep in mind that although national exams have been cancelled, students could be required to take an alternative assessment to inform teacher grades. Therefore it’s vital that your child continues with their remote learning. 

How will grades be decided?

At the moment we don’t know. We are aware that it will be decided by teacher estimated grades, but Ofqual will outline how this will work. As we don’t know what teachers will base these on yet, it’s imperative your child continues to work hard at home and completes their remote learning.

Will the grades count for applications and CVs?

Yes. All of the grades students receive will help them to achieve the next step in their education or prepare them for their career.

What if my child doesn’t get the grades they deserve?

Last year, we were determined to make sure students got the grades they deserved - we worked incredibly hard to support our families and challenge incorrect grades. We will continue to make sure our children deserve fair grades this year. This is why it’s vital to continue completing remote learning. It will provide us with strong evidence to challenge any grades.

Will the process be the same as last year’s results?

We know many of our families will have seen news stories regarding last year’s results. Last year results were decided by an algorithm. This will not be the same this time. Instead, Ofqual will be setting rules around how teachers should decide estimated grades. 

We know that exams being cancelled will be disappointing when children have been working hard to prepare. We’d like to encourage our children not to stop for two reasons. The first is that this period of remote learning could be vital to achieving the grades they want. The second is that in every lesson they will learn something to help prepare them for their future.