Letter from Mr Jackson: 3rd April

Following the Secretary of State for Education’s announcement that the 2020 exam series would be cancelled to help fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Ofqual’s role has been to develop a process which they believe fairly recognises students’ work and makes sure they get their grades in time to progress to the next stage of their career.  I am writing to make you aware that today Ofqual have released information about how GCSEs and A levels will be awarded this summer.  I have only had time to have a quick read of the various documents that Ofqual have sent to headteachers this morning, and there is clearly much to digest and to work out how to implement their guidance.

As promised, I have made available to you, the relevant documents they have supplied, so that you are clear about how this process will work.  I have included a link to a document which provides guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers, as well as a letter to Year 11 and 13 students.  We have emailed this document to students’ school email addresses, but have included a copy for your reference.

I am sure you understand what an exceptionally difficult process this is likely to be, given that Ofqual expect that the national picture for school-assessed grades will be broadly similar to that which would have occurred if the students concerned had actually taken the exams.  Ofqual will take steps to ensure that grade distributions resemble previous years and schools will undergo a robust external moderation process where this is not the case.  Ofqual feels it is important that these standards are maintained to protect the integrity of the examination system and to ensure all grades awarded are in line with those awarded previously and subsequently.  If this was not the case, the GCSE grades in 2020 may not be viewed in the same way by future employers.  I will update you further as and when more information is available.