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GCSE Exams 2021: What we know

Update on GCSE Exams in Summer 2021

‘We are working with our Heads of Faculty and teachers to ensure our pupils are well prepared for their exams next summer. We will continue to respond to any changes announced by the government, adapt our practice and advise pupils and parents accordingly.’ Chiquita Henson, Headteacher

On Friday 4 December 2020 the Government announced plans for the GCSE exams in Summer 2021. We are still waiting for the detail of some of the announcement, however we can confirm that the following allowances have been planned for pupils taking their GCSEs this summer:

  1. Firstly, the Government has confirmed that the exam series will be delayed by 3 weeks.  This means that the main exam series will start on 7 June 2021, just after the May half term, and end on 2 July 2021. One Maths and one English GCSE exam will take place before the May half term to give any Year 11 pupil who is affected by COVID-19 the best possible chance of sitting at least one paper in each of these core subjects. GCSE results will be shared with pupils on 27 August 2021
  2. The Government has announced that GCSE results will be ‘in line with national outcomes from 2020, so students this year are not disadvantaged’. This is to recognise some of the disruption pupils have faced during their two-year GCSE courses. This calculation will be applied to all subjects equally, and so it won’t be dependent on the subjects a pupil opted to study at GCSE. 
  3. We understand from the announcement that pupils will be given advance notice of some of the topics to be covered in GCSEs to focus revision. The announcement indicated that more details about this will be released in the New Year. 
  4. In some exams some formula sheets or other aids will be provided for pupils, to create ‘more confidence and reduce the amount of information they (pupils) need to memorise’. We have not been told which exam subject/s this applies to yet. 
  5. The exam boards will provide extra exams as a ‘second chance’ for pupils to sit a paper if they miss the main exam because of illness or self-isolation: this is to minimise the need for estimations for a pupil’s grade.  However, in ‘extreme cases’ where a pupil has a ‘legitimate reason to miss all their papers’, then a ‘validated teacher informed assessment’ can be used (but this is only ‘once all chances to sit an exam have passed’). 
  6. The Government has also said that pupils taking vocational and technical qualifications will see ‘some adaptions (to their courses) to ensure parity’.  This will apply to Creative iMedia, Child Development and Music Technology.  

Once we have further details from the Government and the exam boards about the concessions indicated above (sometime in the New Year) we will outline these more comprehensively.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the exams please contact Liz Lang (Deputy Head) or Sylvia Williams (Exams Officer).