Government Exams Update

As you have probably seen, the Department of Education has announced the following: 

 “Almost all” A levels and GCSEs, exams will start on Monday 7th June (first day after the spring half-term holiday) and end on Friday 2nd July. “Almost all” means, according to the government, that “one maths and one English GCSE exam will be held just before the May half-term, giving any Year 11 pupils who are affected by Covid-19 the best possible chance of still sitting a paper in each of these core subjects.” Vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC) are expected to be “align” with GCSEs and A levels.  

The government, through their exams regulator Ofqual, has made some adjustments to some qualifications. 

The full details are here:

This is how it affects the courses our pupils study: 

  • GCSE Art & Design: assessment will be based solely on pupils’ portfolios. 
  • GCSE Biology, Chemistry & Physics: required practicals may be taught through observation. 
  • GCSE Computer Science: programming can take place in unsupervised time. 
  • GCSE Drama: pupils may evaluate recorded performances rather than having to visit a theatre. 
  • GCSE English Literature: we will be able to choose a text we won’t study. 
  • GCSE Food: the amount and complexity of Non-Examined Assessment (coursework) has been reduced. 
  • GCSE French, German & Spanish: instead of speaking examinations, there will be a spoken language endorsement (accredited as either pass/merit/distinction/ fail) that will be reported separately alongside the 9 – 1 GCSE grade. 
  • GCSE Geography: students will not complete fieldwork but will be examined on the theory associated with fieldwork in the exam instead. 
  • GCSE History: we will be able to choose a topic we won’t study.  
  • GCSE Media Studies: coursework has been reduced. 
  • GCSE Physical Education: pupils will need to demonstrate only two activities. 
  • GCSE Design & Technology: there is no longer a requirement for the production of a full prototype 
  • A Level Biology, Chemistry & Physics: required practicals will be reduced to a minimum. 
  • A Level Geography: there will be more flexibility in the non-examination assessment (coursework) in relation to the students’ own fieldwork. 
  • A Level Physical Education: the exam board will require less evidence for activities. 

For all subjects, there will be no changes to the length, number, or format of the exam papers, except as necessary to accommodate the specific changes listed above. 

Exam results days for 2021 have been set as follows: 

Tuesday 24th August for A levels 

Friday 27th August for GCSEs 

Contact Info

Barr Beacon School
Old Hall Lane
Aldridge, Walsall
West Midlands

T: 0121 366 6600

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 3:30 pm

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