GCSE exams could be delayed by three weeks in line with A-levels, reports say

Next summer’s GCSE exams could reportedly be pushed back amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

The tests are set to delayed in line with A-level exams, which it was reported earlier this week will be put back by three weeks under new plans.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, is set to announce an exam timetable extension until mid-July, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard cited education sources saying GCSE exams could also be pushed back by three weeks.

At the beginning of last month, Mr Williamson said GCSE and A-level exams could be pushed back to next year to allow for more teaching time after a year of disruption.

Pupils returned to school last month, marking the first time all students were allowed back in the classroom since March.

Labour has called on the government to delay GCSE and A-level exams in order to help pupils catch up on missed education.

Mr Williamson has told the Education Select Committee there will be announcement later this month over next year’s exams.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) said: “We expect exams to take place next year and continue to work with Ofqual and the exam boards on our approach, recognising that students will have experienced considerable disruption to their education in the last academic year.

“There are a range of measures proposed by Ofqual following a public consultation, including a possible short delay to the exam timetable and subject-specific changes to reduce pressure on teaching time.

“We will continue to work with school and college stakeholders, Ofqual and the exam boards, to ensure that exams in 2021 are fair.”

It comes as schools could be asked to refuse to prepare for Sats next year if teachers give their backing to union proposals to focus resources on recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

The plans will be debated as part of a motion to be put forward by the National Education Union (NEU) at its online conference on Saturday.

If approved, the motion would see the union’s executive instructed to “call on head teachers and governors to refuse to require preparation for Sats, instead concentrating all resources on recovery”.

It also calls for Sats to be replaced by a moderated teacher assessment system in 2021 and for this to apply for GCSEs and A-levels as part of a mixed assessment model.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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