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GCSE, AS-level and A-level exams to be replaced by school-based assessments, Gavin Williamson confirms

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that GCSE's, AS-levels and A-levels will not go ahead this summer and will be replaced by school-based assessments instead.

In his address to the Commons, Mr Williamson said the government are going to put their "trust in teachers rather than algorithms" with a form of teacher assessed grades. As a result, teachers will be provided with training and support to ensure grades are "awarded fairly and consistently across the county". 

He said: "The department and Ofqual had already worked up a range of contingency options. While the details will need to be fine-tuned in consultation with Ofqual, the exam boards and teaching representative organisations.

“I can confirm now that I wish to use a form of teacher-assessed grades with training and support provided to ensure these are awarded fairly and consistently across the country. I know students and staff have worked hard to prepare for the January exams and assessments of vocational and technical qualifications and we want to allow schools and colleges to continue with these assessments where they judge it is right to do so."

“No college should feel pressured to offer these and we will ensure all students are able to progress fairly," he added.

During his address, he explained that "clear and legally binding requirements" have been set out for schools to "provide high-quality remote education."

"This is mandatory for all state-funded schools and will be enforced by Ofsted. We expect schools to provide between three and five hours teaching a day, depending on the child’s age. If parents feel their child’s school is not providing suitable remote education they should first raise their concerns with the teacher or headteacher and, failing that, report the matter to Ofsted," Mr Williamson said.

On laptops, he said: “We’ve purchased more than one million laptops and tablets and have already delivered over 560,000 of those to schools and local authorities with an extra 100,000 being distributed this week alone. By the end of next week, we will have delivered three-quarters-of-a-million devices.”

Addressing the concerns about free school meals while schools are closed, Mr Williamson announced that the government will provide extra funding to "support schools, to provide food parcels or meals to eligible children."

"Where schools cannot offer food parcels or use local solutions, we will ensure a national voucher scheme is in place so that every eligible child can access free school meals while their school remains closed," he added.

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