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Assessments: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 181466, tabled on 15 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the cancellation of exams for summer 2021, for what reason schools are being billed fees by exam boards.

Answered on

28 April 2021

Given the ongoing disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department announced in January that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer.

The Department and Ofqual launched joint consultations on 15 January 2021 on how to award grades for both general qualifications and vocational and technical qualifications in 2021 so they are robust and fair. We received over 100,000 responses from pupils, parents, teachers, head teachers and other stakeholders. There was widespread support for our approach.

In terms of fees from exam boards, awarding organisations will need to cover their costs which, for example, will include the provision of assessment and support materials, managing the quality assurance and appeals processes. We expect they will make commercial decisions on fees and refunds on that basis. Given the unusual circumstances this year, it is not possible for them to have certainty about their 2021 costs in advance.

The Government will provide funding to awarding organisations with respect to formal appeals of teacher assessed grades submitted to them by state-funded providers and any providers on behalf of private candidates. These centres will not need to pay a fee to awarding bodies when submitting their appeal.