Teacher assessments will replace GCSE and A-level exams this summer

GCSE, AS and A-level exams in England this summer will be replaced by school assessments, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed.

Mr Williamson told MPs that the Government will put its “trust in teachers, rather than algorithms”.

The Education Secretary acknowledged that exams are the “fairest way” of assessing what a student knows, but said the impact of the pandemic meant it was not possible to hold exams in the summer.

Mr Williamson told MPs that SATs exams in primary schools will also not be going ahead this year.

His comments in the House of Commons came after the Government announced that schools and colleges in England would be closed to most pupils until mid-February amid the new national lockdown.

The grading of GCSE and A-level students in England became a fiasco last summer when end-of-year exams were cancelled amid school closures.

Thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm, before Ofqual announced a U-turn, allowing them to use teachers’ predictions.

But speaking on Wednesday, Mr Williamson said he wishes to use a form of teacher-assessed grades to award results rather than an algorithm.

He told the Commons: “While the details will need to be fine-tuned in consultation with Ofqual, the exam boards and teaching representative organisations.

“I can confirm now that I wish to use a form of teacher-assessed grades with training and support provided to ensure these are awarded fairly and consistently across the country.”

A detailed consultation on the options for alternatives to the exams will be launched by Ofqual next week, he said.

Enfield Independent: School pupils (PA)School pupils (PA)

Mr Williamson added that schools watchdog Ofsted will enforce legal requirements for state schools to provide high-quality remote education.

He said: “We expect schools to provide between three and five hours teaching a day, depending on the child’s age.

“If parents feel their child’s school is not providing suitable remote education they should first raise their concerns with the teacher or headteacher and, failing that, report the matter to Ofsted.”

He told MPs that three-quarters-of-a-million laptops and tablets will have been delivered by the end of next week to help pupils access online learning.

The Education Secretary said that a national voucher scheme will also be in place so that all eligible children can access free school meals.

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