Council welcomes Welsh Government decision on 2021 examinations

Bridgend County Borough Council has welcomed the decision by Welsh Government to award GCSE, AS and A-Level results for 2021 based on teacher-assessed grades instead of standardised end-of-year examinations.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed that that in place of exams, Welsh Government intends to work with schools and colleges to take forward teacher-managed assessments.

These will include assessments which will be both set and marked externally, and delivered within the classroom under teacher supervision.

The work will form the basis for centre-based outcomes linked to an agreed national approach in order to provide consistency across Wales.

The minister said: “In line with the recommendations of both Qualifications Wales and the Independent Review, there will be no exams for GCSE or AS level learners next year. A-level students will also not be required to sit exams.

“We remain optimistic that the public heath situation will improve, but the primary reason for my decision is down to fairness. The time learners will spend in schools and colleges will vary hugely and, in this situation, it is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.

“We have consulted with universities across the UK and they have confirmed that they are used to accepting many different types of qualifications. They expect a transparent and robust approach which provides evidence of a learner’s knowledge and ability.

“Our intended approach does just that, as it is designed to maximise the time for teaching and learning.

“Cancelling exams provides time for teaching and learning to continue throughout the summer term, and to build the knowledge, skills and confidence in our learners to progress in whatever they decide to do next.

“The full approach to this will be developed by school and college leaders, supported by Welsh Government and advised by Qualifications Wales and WJEC. My policy intention is that this will form the basis for centre-based outcomes which will be linked to an agreed national approach to provide consistency across Wales to assure universities and colleges of our approach.

“This work will be completed in the autumn term to provide time for implementation from January, and we envisage that the first assessment activities will not commence until the latter half of the spring term.”

Reacting to the announcement, Councillor Dr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “The Leader and Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council wholeheartedly welcome this decision by Welsh Government.

“Given the challenges and disruption posed by the ongoing pandemic, this remains the best option for ensuring that pupils and students can attain their full potential.

“Putting our trust in teachers and ensuring that they are professionally supported is the right thing to do, and we are looking forward to seeing how these plans will develop in coming months.”

You can read the statement from the Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, in full at the Welsh Government website.