01/07/20

Students in England who are unhappy with their GCSE and A-Level predicted grades this summer will have the opportunity to sit exams in all subjects in the autumn for those dissatisfied with their mark, the exams regulator has confirmed.

Due to school closures happening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ofqual announced that many students would not be sitting their GCSE and A-level exams as standard this year. Instead, students’ results would be based on teacher assessment.

Headteachers have raised their concerns about the practical challenges already facing schools as they prepare to open up to all pupils from September. They say that the autumn series should be restricted to A-levels and GCSE English and maths because of the “huge challenge” they’re already facing.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said pupils and parents could be confident this summer’s grades would be every bit as valid as in any other year, without the need to enter for exams in the autumn.

“We are concerned about how schools and colleges will be able to accommodate and manage a full suite of autumn exams alongside the huge challenge of bringing all their pupils back in September, identifying learning gaps, and putting catch-up support in place,” he said. “All of this will have to be done while managing the risks associated with coronavirus.”

However, following a consultation, Ofqual ruled that exam boards must make exams available in all subjects at all levels in the additional autumn series beginning in October.

Exam boards will also be expected to have the usual arrangements for reviews of marking and appeals in place, and students will be able to request a replacement certificate.

Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, Ofqual, said: “We, and exam boards, are committed to helping students and their families understand how to access an appeal or make a complaint about bias, discrimination, or another concern. We will provide accessible information and have a helpline available to students and their parents or carers to talk about the appeals process and any other questions they may have about their results this summer.”