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Pupils: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 47466, tabled on 15 May 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) support pupils in years (i) 10 and (ii) 12 that are not attending school due to the covid-19 outbreak but are due to take exams in 2021 and (b) ensure that the break in the schooling of those pupils is taken into account when assessing the results of their exams.

Answered on

26 May 2020

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools and colleges is at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

We have prioritised the return to school of children in reception, year 1 and year 6, and have asked secondary schools and colleges to offer some face to face support for young people in year 10 and year 12 to supplement their remote education. This is because they are preparing for key examinations next year and are most at risk of falling behind due to time out of school or college. From 1 June 2020, we expect that secondary schools and colleges will be able to offer some face to face contact with year 10 and year 12 students. This will not be a return to full timetables or students back in school or college full time, but rather support to supplement students’ remote education.

We have also committed over £100 million to boost remote education, including giving free laptops to year 10 students from disadvantaged backgrounds, alongside care leavers and those with a social worker, to help them learn from home during the lockdown. Additionally, if families of these students do not have good access to the internet, we will provide them with 4G routers so that they can learn online. Students aged 16 to 19 without a suitable device for education may be eligible for support through the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. The Department will also ensure that every school and college that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education.

In light of the disruption experienced by students in Years 10 and 12 who are due to take exams in 2021, we are working with Ofqual and the exam boards to develop our approach to next year’s exams.