'Alternative arrangements’ will be made for GCSE and A Level exams this year - what it means for students

England has entered into its third countrywide lockdown, with tighter restrictions in place and a new stay at home law, due to the rising spread of Covid-19.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement of the new, tougher measures in a broadcast on Monday evening (4 Jan).

His speech included an update regarding the closure of schools, with primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges, to be closed from Tuesday (5 Jan) until at least after the February half-term holidays.

However, this in turn will have a knock-on effect in regards to the summer exam season, with the Prime Minister explaining that not all exams will go ahead as usual.

Mr Johnson said: “Because we now have to do everything we possibly can to stop the spread of the disease, primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across England must move to remote provision from tomorrow.

"We recognise that this will mean it's not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer, as normal.”

What will be the alternatives to summer exams?

Mr Johnson said in his statement on Monday that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will work with exams regulator Ofqual to put “alternative arrangements” into place.

Although it’s not yet been confirmed what these arrangements will be, Michael Gove said that the Education Secretary will address a recalled House of Commons on Wednesday (6 Jan) and update MPs on how pupils will be assessed at the end of the year.

Mr Gove told Sky News: “The Education Secretary has been talking to the exams regulator Ofqual in order that we can find a way of recognising the immense hard work that students across the country have put in this year.

“Obviously we can’t have A Levels, GCSEs or B-techs in the way that we have had them in the past but there are ways of ensuring that we can assess the work that students have done, give them a fair recognition of that and help them onto the next stage of their education.

“The Education Secretary will be saying more about that but it is critically important that parents and students recognise that their work will be recognised at the end of this year - it is not the case that anyone would, or anyone would want to, down tools as it were.”

Schools will be closed to pupils - except for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers - with students to take part in online learning instead.

“It is critically important that children maintain their learning and we will be supporting them to do so by making it easier for more and more students to access remote learning,” Mr Gove added.