Welsh exam regulator proposes cancelling GCSEs next summer

Camilla Turner
·2-min read
The Welsh regulator said that GCSEs and AS levels should have 'external assessments'
The Welsh regulator said that GCSEs and AS levels should have 'external assessments'

The Welsh exam regulator has followed Scotland and proposed cancelling GCSEs next summer.

Qualifications Wales said that A-level exams should go ahead but with just one exam per subject plus another arranged as a back-up for students who cannot make the first one.

The Welsh regulator said that GCSEs and AS levels should have 'external assessments' but not during the normal exam season next summer.

Grades for GCSEs and AS-levels should be awarded based on coursework and a set of common assessments taken during the course of the school year, the watchdog recommended. 

The Welsh exam regulator is also recommending schools and colleges are given "windows of opportunity" for when assessments take place within which there will be some flexibility.

For A-levels, in addition to coursework and set tasks, students would need to sit one exam per subject but with a backup opportunity to take the exam if the pupil is ill or is self-isolating.

Earlier this month, the Scottish education secretary John Swinney announced that National 5 exams - which are equivalent to GCSEs - will not go ahead next spring and that awards will instead be granted based on coursework and teacher judgement.

Traditional Higher and Advanced Higher examinations, which are equivalent to AS and A-levels, would take place, he said, as long as public health advice states that it is safe.

However, Gavin Williamson has so far insisted that exams in England will go ahead next summer with a three week delay to allow for more teaching time. 

Earlier this month the English exam watchdog chief revealed that GCSEs and A-levels could include more multiple choice questions.

Pupils may be allowed to bring formula sheets into science exams, under plans being considered by Ofqual to ensure pupils are not put at a disadvantage for having missed out on so much school.

Dame Glenys Stacey, the interim chief regulator, said that Ofqual is looking at a number of ways exams can be amended to take into account the fact that pupils have had less time to get through their courses.

  The Welsh Government is due to make a final decision on exams on November 10.