An expert group tasked with solving how next year's GCSE and A-level exam grades will account for differential learning across the country owing to Covid disruption will report in the spring, the education secretary has said today.
Speaking to the BBC 4 Today programme, education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We have set up this expert group, which is looking at some of the real challenges in terms of differential learning that we’ll see and have seen around the country.
GCSEs 2021: Grading will be 'more generous' next summer
Exams 2021: What you need to know on vocational exams
“We put all these measures in looking at how pupils can learn and how they can succeed in their exams…but we are going to be asking the expert group to look at some of the additional challenges as a result of differential learning, and how we deal with that and tackle that,” he added.
Mr Williamson said that the group will also look into how the issue can be properly flagged and said that he thinks this a “pragmatic and sensible” approach.
He said: “Every child in this country who will be taking exams in 2021 has suffered disruption, but on top of that, that’s why we have set up that expert group to look at those issues of differential learning.
“We don’t want them to report at too early a stage because we want them to examine the full consequences of the pandemic. It will be in spring next year obviously before the exams.”
The news comes following the government's announcement earlier today that a package of measures would be put in place to ensure students sitting exams in 2021 are not unfairly disadvantaged because of the pandemic.
Students will be able to take study aids such as formula sheets into exams, there will be contingency papers available for those who miss all of their papers in a subject next summer, and the grading will be as generous as it was in 2020.