A-Level and GCSE exams will not take place - Education Secretary

GCSE's and A-levels have not been cancelled but exams will not take place, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said.

The minister appeared on Good Morning Britain today to talk about the government’s decision to close all schools in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Education Secretary said: "Exams aren’t going to be taking place in this academic year. We’re going to be doing everything we can to ensure that people receive their GCSE and A-Level grades in August as they would usually do."

This isn’t something that any education secretary would want to be making the decision on.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

But he warned the plan 'isn’t without its challenges', saying: "I should add a caveat, none of us know how this pandemic and virus is going to spread and obviously the awarding bodies will face challenges in terms of staff illness and lose of staff self-isolating as well, but that’s what we’re going to be aiming to do.

"I have to be absolutely honest with you here, any sort of route we go down is not as good as having a proper set of exams… This isn’t something that any education secretary would want to be making the decision on."

The government says it will release more details of the plan tomorrow.

The school closures include all pupils apart from those who are vulnerable or have key worker parents. The minister clarified who is included as a key worker:

Williamson said key workers include those in the NHS and added: "But it will also be much more broader than that, it will be looking at areas of the economy that are absolutely critical to sustain so that is in terms of distribution drivers, in terms of getting goods to shops, for us to be able to sustain ourselves or that critical national infrastructure."

When asked about whether special schools are staying open or closing, Williamson said: "What we’re doing is working with our regional school's commissioners and the local education authorities because there will be a number of special schools where some children have very high needs to make sure that they have the support that’s required.

"I do accept there’ll be a large number of teachers who have children attending those schools who will equally make the decision that they will want their child at home.”

He added: “We do recognise that we are going to backfill and support a number of those special schools.”