AoC: 'Guarantee every GCSE student a place at college'

Association of Colleges is calling for measures to be taken to tackle the impact of the coronavirus exam cancellations

Coronavirus: Guarantee every GCSE student a place at college, suggests the Association of Colleges

Every student affected by the cancellation of May and June exams could be guaranteed a place in post-16 education, the Association of Colleges has suggested today.

In a statement responding to the government's decision to cancel the 2020 summer exam series, the AoC also suggests that the funding condition for GCSE English and maths should be revised, and national online tests should be developed in English, maths and other subjects.

David Hughes, chief executive of the AoC, said that the cancellation of the 2020 summer exam series was the right decision. 

"However, it will have unsettled the many thousands of students who were preparing for exams and assessments in the full range of qualifications and they will need reassurance about alternative arrangements which support their progression plans," he said. "The whole education system will need to work together to ensure that no young person is disadvantaged as a result of the cancellation. There are many challenges to overcome to achieve that, but this is also an opportunity to reconsider some aspects of our high-stakes exam regime.

How will coronavirus affect qualifications?

"We are working with the Department for Education and Ofqual to ensure that the particular challenges faced by colleges and students are understood. Any decisions about assessment and accreditation for the students affected need to take into account the college context because nearly two-thirds of all 16- 19-year-old students study in colleges. Colleges are determined to play their part in helping to safeguard the educational and progression opportunities of every student affected."

The AoC's suggestions in full 

  • The guarantee of a place in post-16 education for every student affected by the cancellation of the 2020 summer exam series.
  • Additional resources to increase teaching time for all 16- to 19-year-olds in 2020-21, make up for the lost teaching time in 2019-20 and support catch-up classes and skills development.
  • A national record-of-achievement and reference system for recording students’ capabilities and achievements in a common and comprehensible way as they transfer between institutions.
  • The development of national online tests in English, maths and other subjects, to support receiving post-16 institutions in advising and guiding students to make appropriate choices for 2020-21.
  • A revision of the English and maths condition of funding in light of the cancellation of GCSEs this summer.
  • Employer-agreed skills standards and accreditation requirements for entry-level employment in various sectors and the use of nationally approved skills tests to provide the evidence of students’ skills which employers need.

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