Covid-19: no school public exams this year

On Wednesday 18 March 2020, the UK Government announced that schools across England would be closing at the end of the week in a further measure to seek to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus Covid-19. It was confirmed that schools would stay open on a limited basis for the children of 'key workers'. It was further announced that public examinations - GCSEs and A levels - would also be cancelled this year. According to the Times, this is the first nationwide closure of schools in British history. The Department of Education confirmed on 20 March 2020 that the exam regulator Ofqual would work with the various independent exam boards and with schools to ensure that affected individuals would be "awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in". Teachers will be asked to submit predicted grades and evidence from performance in mock exams and non-exam assessment. The exam boards are also to take into account other data, such as prior attainment. Results have been promised by the end of July. It has been confirmed that an appeal system will be available to those concerned at the outcome of this alternative assessment process and individuals will have the opportunity to sit an exam when schools re-open, or to take exams in the summer of 2021. However, individuals will be concerned about progression to higher education or other opportunities. Universities UK and UCAS have issued a joint open letter to applicants to higher education confirming that they are working with universities and colleges to be "flexible in offer making decisions and that they are committed to doing all they can to support [applicants] in these unprecedented times." 

For further general information on the legal issues arising, please visit our coronavirus hub on our website or for specific advice please be in touch with your Client Partner or usual contact at Mills & Reeve. Please stay safe and follow the Government's guidance to help tackle this pandemic.



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