College welcomes early decision on 2021 exam plans

Published: December 4, 2020

Telford College has welcomed the Government’s early decision on the structure of GCSE and A level exams next year.

Extra measures designed to ‘boost fairness and support students’ will be used in the summer, including advance notice for students on some of the areas to be covered.

Students taking vocational and technical qualifications will also see adaptations to their exams to ensure fairness.

Telford College principal and chief executive Graham Guest said the early decision would be welcomed by the 2,500 A level and GCSE students impacted at the college.

Telford College Campus

Telford College Campus

“I believe this is a good decision, because it takes the anxiety away for our students. Prior to this, they were facing the unknown, wondering exactly how they would be assessed this year.

“Our students have continued to receive learning throughout this difficult period, either on site or remotely, to ensure that they haven’t fallen behind in their studies.

“But the flexibilities in the Government proposals will allow us to support any of the small number of students that may have been disadvantaged.”

He added: “In our view, a decision made early is a good decision. We can work with it, and would expect more of the details to start coming through to us from the exam bodies over the next few weeks.”

The Department for Education said the plans were an attempt to make up for the disruption faced by students during the pandemic, and followed ‘extensive engagement’ with exams watchdog Ofqual, exam boards and senior leaders across the education sector.

As part of the plans, students will receive advance notice of some topic areas to be covered in exams, so that they can focus their revision.

There will also be exam aids – such as formula sheets – provided in some cases to cut down on the memorising required.

Mr Guest said: “The only reaction I’ve heard from students so far has been positive, because it takes away their uncertainty.

“They are happy that they now know what they need to contend with, and can just focus on the work required to ensure they progress to where they need to be.

“We are in unprecedented times, and I think that the decision which has been made is going to be positive for everybody – not just GCSE and A level students, but our technical and vocational students too.

“With a vaccine coming on board, everyone can see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, so we need to do everything we can to make sure that no-one gets left behind.”