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Examination Updates for Year 11 and 13 Parents/Carers

Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi has this week reconfirmed the Government’s plan that examinations due to take place this month and this summer will go ahead. It is therefore timely to remind parents about what schools know so far, and when the next update will be.

On 11 November 2021 the DfE and Ofqual published documents setting out contingency plans for GCSE, AS levels, A levels, and vocational and technical qualifications this year. These include the following:

  • A ‘decisions on contingency document’ setting out what changes will be put in place for GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022, following the recent DfE/Ofqual consultation on this.
  • letter to students by Chief Regulator Dr Jo Saxton, explaining Ofqual’s approach.

The key points from these documents are:

Adaptations to summer exams -

  • students taking GCSEs in English literature, history, and geography will not need to cover the usual range of content in the exams. Departments will be sharing with students how this will work in the subjects mentioned.
  • students taking GCSEs in all other subjects will be given advance information about the focus of the content of the exams to help them focus their revision
  • students taking GCSEs in mathematics will be given in their exams copies of formulae they would in other years have to memorise
  • students taking GCSE physics and combined science will be given in their exams a sheet covering all the equations they might need to apply in the exams
  • students taking AS and A levels will be given advance information about the focus of the content of the exams to help them focus their revision

Some changes have also been made to the way non-exam assessments that are used in some GCSE, AS and A level subjects are taken, to address difficulties that might otherwise be caused by the pandemic.


Ofqual has decided that grade boundaries for summer 2022 will be set so that more students than was the case before the pandemic receive higher grades, providing a safety net for students in this transitionary year.

  • 2022 will be a ‘transition year’ to reflect the fact that we are in a pandemic recovery period and students’ education has been disrupted.
  • Ofqual will therefore aim for grades in 2022 to reflect a midway point between 2021 and 2019. This means that results overall next year will be higher than in 2019 but not as high as in 2020.
  • Organisations awarding Vocational qualifications are expected to take account of the approach for GCSEs and A levels when setting standards in their own qualifications.
  • In 2023, Ofqual aims to return to results that are in line with those in pre-pandemic years.

When this information was first released the government told us that any advance information for GCSE and AS and A levels will be published no later than 7 February 2022. The school remains committed to keeping you informed about any changes and we will provide another update as soon as we can.

Despite the Government’s commitment that examinations will go ahead, we recognise that some students and parents/carers remain concerned that examinations could be disrupted. Over the last two years the three schools in the town have worked together to ensure any Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) are determined from robust evidence and we have a strong model in place should this be required once more. Students will be sitting further formal assessments in February (Year 13) and March (Year 11) as part of their preparation for the final examinations. These assessments will also provide further evidence of attainment if a portfolio of work for each student is needed.

Students are encouraged to talk through any concerns they have with their subject teachers, tutors or Heads of Year. Further updates will follow when more information has been shared.

Mrs G White

Assistant Headteacher – Curriculum