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Education Minister confirms 2021 exam grades to be based on teacher assessments

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Welsh Government has announced that it will award exam results for 2021 based on work students have completed over their course following further disruption to face-to-face learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams confirmed that learners studying for Qualifications Wales-approved GCSE, AS and A-levels this year will receive grades determined by their school or college and based on coursework and other evidence such as mock exams.

The minister said: “The worsening situation with the pandemic has meant we have no choice but to revisit our approach to ensure wellbeing and public confidence in our qualifications system.

“The proposals we are announcing puts trust in teachers’ and lecturers’ knowledge of their learners’ work, as well as their commitment to prioritise teaching and learning in the time available to support learners’ progression.

“Teaching the core content and aspects of each course remains my absolute priority for learners in exam years, so they are supported to progress with certainty into their next steps, with confidence in their grades.

“We are working with higher education institutions to look at how we can support learners through this transition, and can provide a bridge into university courses.

“I would like to thank each and every learner and education professional for their ongoing flexibility and adaptability in responding to this incredibly difficult situation.

“Their continuing commitment in the face of adversity is admirable, as is their individual and collective contribution to the national effort against Covid-19.”

The announcement followed recommendations from the Design and Delivery Advisory Group, which is made up of head teachers and college leaders.

Councillor Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “With so much disruption to face-to-face learning for our pupils and students caused by the pandemic, I welcome this announcement by the minister.

“Pupils’ wellbeing and confidence in the system is extremely important and we must trust in our teachers and ensure they are professionally supported in the principles of assessment.

 “Thank you to all of our school and college workers, pupils, and their parents and carers for their ongoing patience and flexibility.”