New official guidance makes it clear that individual pupils who have missed learning because of the coronavirus outbreak could repeat the year.
The Department for Education says the decision lies with schools, but it suggests that repeating the year should not be necessary.
Under the heading "Can my child repeat a year?", the DfE guidance states: "Once a child has been admitted to a school, it is for the headteacher to decide how best to educate them.
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"This may, on occasion, include deciding that a child should be educated in a year group other than the one indicated by their age."
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It continues: "Such decisions should be based on sound educational reasons and in consultation with parents.
"We do not currently anticipate that children and young people will need to repeat a school year as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.
"We continue to look at all options to make sure children and young people get the support they need to continue their education during the coronavirus outbreak and make up for time spent out of school.
"However, it remains possible for headteachers to agree this in individual cases if they think it is appropriate."
In April former Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested that students who have "lost out" on a key stage of exam preparation due to the coronavirus crisis may need to "repeat the whole year".