Exams Cancelled During Coronavirus: Do Students Get Their Predicted Grades? How Will It Work?

19 March 2020, 11:23

Schools closing means exams that were meant to be sat in May and June aren't happening
Schools closing means exams that were meant to be sat in May and June aren't happening. Picture: PA

UK schools are set to shut amid the coronavirus pandemic, meaning no GCSE, A-Level or Sat exams will be taking place.

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Boris Johnson announced UK schools will shut to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will remain shut until further notice.

During a conference on March 18, he also confirmed that upcoming exams will not be going ahead but students will still ‘get the qualifications they need’.

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The Prime Minister said: “I can announce today that after schools shut their gates from Friday afternoon they will remain closed for most students, the vast majority of pupils, until further notice.”

But what does this mean for those who are set to sit their GCSE, A-Level and Sat exams? Here’s what we know.

What will happen with exams?

All exams which were due to be sat in May and June have been cancelled.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed the government will work with Ofqual to ensure pupils get the qualifications they ‘need and deserve’.

Boris Johnson didn’t state how and when the qualifications would be given out, but ensured it will be ‘done fairly’.

Exams will not be taking place in Wales and Northern Ireland, however, a decision whether exams will be sat in Scotland has not been made.

Will students receive their predicted grades?

After the announcement that exams will not be going ahead as normal, pupils and parents were left with concerns that predicted grades will serve as a final grade, going towards further education.

The government is considering different ways of handling the situation, including predicted grades and teacher-led assessments, to replace the traditional exams that were set to take place.

Another possibility, posed by the education secretary, was for students to ‘rapidly take a fresh set of exams’ in the absence of the formal ones.

However, it is yet to be confirmed by the government how the qualifications will be administered, as it is unclear when schools will be able to reopen, meaning there may be a ‘knock-on’ effect towards the start of the next academic year.

What does it mean for university entry?

As it has not been confirmed how grades will be administered, going forward, it is unclear how university admissions will work.

UCAS’ chief executive, Clare Marchant, said: "Flexibility within the admission process will be enhanced and extended to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.”

Alistair Jarvis, the chief executive of Universities UK, has added that students should not lose out on the opportunity to go to university because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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