IB 2021: Exam safety questions

Schools are being questioned by International Baccalaureate over whether it can run exams safely, following cancellation of GCSEs and A levels

Catherine Lough

no plan B for exams

The International Baccalaureate will survey schools over whether they can run the May exam series safely, following the government’s cancellation of GCSEs and A levels this year. 

In an email to headteachers and school coordinators seen by Tes, the IB says: “We are aware that the announcement on 4 January related to the cancellation of GCSE and A-level examinations for England in 2021 will have implications and generate questions for the Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme May 2021 session in the UK.

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“Please be assured we are working closely with Ofqual and other awarding bodies in light of this announcement. As we have further information, we will share it directly with you,” it added.

“As part of our careful planning, we need to capture a full picture of the situations our schools globally are facing. In the week commencing 11 January, your school coordinator will receive a short online form to complete on your school’s ability to administer the May 2021 examination session safely.”

The survey will close on 20 January.

David James, an experienced IB teacher and deputy head of the Lady Eleanor Holles School, an independent 7-18 girls' school in Hampton, London, said: “To me, having taught the IB for over 20 years, this survey is a delay at best, a cause of future chaos at worst. It looks like they are kicking the can down the Covid road, and let’s not forget that IB exams are in May – months earlier than A level.

“Delaying the decision is causing unnecessary stress to the thousands of IB students who are revising right now for exams they may not have to take. They deserve clarity, not dithering and further ‘consultation’.”


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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