Self-isolating pupils who miss Autumn resits face entering 2021 exams

Pupils who can’t sit exams during the additional Autumn series face having to wait until next year to try again to achieve a better grade.

The Department for Education has this evening published contingency guidance for the autumn resits – for pupils who feel their centre-assessed grade was unfair.

It states that, as in normal exam years, schools can apply for special consideration to be awarded should pupils be unable to attend exams.

It comes as figures published today show around 16 per cent of secondary school pupils were off school as 1,500 secondaries were partially closed, mostly because of coronavirus.

Under special consideration, provided that candidates have completed a minimum of 25 per cent of the assessments in the subject they are resitting – they will be awarded a grade.

But not all qualifications have multiple exam papers – and others that do are spaced within just days of each other. The autumn exam series runs over different three-week periods for GCSEs and A-levels.

The guidance adds: “It is possible that some candidates will, very unfortunately, be unable to attend any of their exams. Those candidates who take less than the minimum necessary assessments and therefore cannot be awarded a grade in the autumn series will have the option to enter exams in summer 2021.”

But a spokesperson for the DfE said this will “still see them progress to their next stage of education or training in time for the following academic year”.

The guidance also states that schools and colleges in areas under local restrictions are expected to run exams.

Where a school has to close at the last minute, the Department for Education’s exam support service will be available to find an “additional venue”.

The DfE spokesperson added: “Exams are an important part of ensuring young people have acquired the knowledge and skills they need to move on to the next stage of their education or career, which is why arrangements are in place for exams and other assessments to run this autumn, even in areas of local restriction.”