Statement in response to the Department for Education announcement about exams and assessments in England for Summer 2021

The Minister for Education in Wales has taken the decision to cancel exams for approved GCSE, AS and A levels in Wales, awarded by WJEC, for summer 2021.

A Design and Delivery Advisory Group was created to make proposals on the assessment models. Most learners in Wales will be studying approved qualifications awarded by WJEC 

Today’s announcement by the UK Department for Education (DfE) in England relates to Ofqual-regulated GCSEs, AS and A level qualifications taken by smaller numbers of learners in Wales, who are mainly studying for GCSEs, AS and A levels in subjects not available as Wales-approved qualifications, or to learners in independent schools.  

The announcement confirms contingency plans set out by the UK DfE to enable exams and assessments for GCSE, AS and A levels to be taken in summer 2021.  

The DfE has also confirmed further changes to vocational and technical qualifications that will allow awarding bodies to reduce the number of units assessed.   

Through the Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (EERF) for vocational qualifications, awarding bodies have flexibility to adapt their qualifications to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. This framework applies to all regulated qualifications, other than GCSE and AS/A level, in Wales. All regulators are encouraging awarding bodies to use the full flexibilities available to them under the EERF. Some vocational qualifications have similar assessment structures and the same progression routes as general qualifications. Awarding bodies offering these types of vocational qualifications will review their qualifications to consider whether some of the approaches announced for general qualifications are also appropriate for their qualifications.   

Qualifications Wales continues to work closely with regulators in England and Northern Ireland to protect the interests of learners in Wales.