Covid-19: Pupils could be given advance notice of exam topics in 2022

12 July 2021, 16:01

Students could find out the focus of their exam papers in advance.
Students could find out the focus of their exam papers in advance. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Pupils could be given advanced notice of exam topics in 2022, according to proposals from the Department for Education (DfE) and exam regulator Ofqual.

Schools and colleges could also be given choice over the topics upon which students are assessed.

Changes to the process have been put forward to ensure pupils are not disadvantaged due to learning lost during the pandemic.

It comes after teachers were given the responsibility of grading GCSE and A-Level students, following the cancellation of exams in 2021 for the second year running.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a consultation on the proposals on Monday, highlighting the disruption young people have already faced.

Read more: Schoolchildren missed out on a third of learning during coronavirus pandemic

Read more: Gavin Williamson 'least strategic person' in Westminster, Shadow Schools Min. fumes

Mr Williamson said: "This year we have rightly asked those who know students best - their teachers - to determine young people's grades.

"While I know the wait for results can be an anxious one, students and their families can look forward to receiving results next month in the knowledge that they will reflect young people's hard work and enable them to progress to their next stage.

"Exams will always be the fairest way to assess students, which is why they will take place next year, but it's right that next summer's arrangements take into account the disruption young people have faced over the past 18 months."

The consultation - which closes on 1 August - also sets out plans to provide exam aids, such as a formulae sheet in GCSE maths and an expanded equations sheet in GCSE physics.

Read more: School bubbles to end and pupils will only isolate if positive for Covid under new plans

Another consultation being run by the DfE and Ofqual will look at vocational and technical qualifications, with the intention of helping colleges streamline assessments and provide guidance for students.

Ofqual's interim chief regulator, Simon Lebus, explained that the consultation would help "future-proof" qualifications.

"With things slowly returning to normal, we are launching a consultation so that the flexibility we are building into qualifications will future-proof them against any public health crisis," he said.

"And we want employers, colleges and universities to have the confidence in those qualifications to allow students to move to the next stage of their lives.

"We look forward to feedback on our plans from students, parents and teachers to ensure we understand their needs, particularly those whose education has been more harshly affected by the pandemic."