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Exams regulator recommends GCSE exams be scrapped next summer


The Welsh exams regulator has recommended that GCSE exams be scrapped in favour of assessments in 2021.

Qualifications Wales said this was the best way of ensuring fairness to pupils, whilst offering certainty over what will happen in uncertain times.

Wales education minster Kirsty Williams will now consider the issue and is expected to announce a decision on 10th November.

In a statement, Kirsty Williams said "I know how important an issue next year’s exams are for many learners and their families."

"At a press conference last week I said that I would soon make a decision on what qualifications in Wales would look like next year and that I would announce that decision on Tuesday, November 10."

"The reason for waiting until then is so that all learners will be back in school following the fire-break with access to, and support from, their teachers."

The recommendation comes as pupils across Wales have lost months of learning due to the school shutdown in the last academic year, with many missing periods of schooling this terms because of covid-19 cases within schools.

Under the Qualifications Wales proposal, grades for GCSEs and AS Levels would be awarded on the basis of coursework and a set of common assessments taken during the year.


Welsh Conservative Shadow Education Minister, Suzy Davies MS, has welcomed the review into the 2021 exam season in Wales by Qualifications Wales and is calling on the Welsh Government Education Minister to ensure that there is confidence in the system for exams to go ahead next year.

Suzy Davies MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Education Minister, commented:

“It really isn’t helpful that these two reviews solve nothing, with both fundamentally disagreeing with each other. I hope that the Education Minister shows some leadership on this issue, unlike earlier in the year when she pushed decisions onto teachers and school leaders instead of leading from the front.

“Qualifications Wales are clear that no national moderation system can be tested and be ready in time to bring confidence to centre-assessed grades. As they and the WJEC would be responsible for creating and implementing such a system, if they say it can’t be done, then we need to listen.  The last thing we need is another system which everyone thinks is fair but turns out to be anything but.

“However, while I’m pleased to see that exams still feature strongly in the Qualifications Wales findings, I’m sure school leaders, parents and pupils will want to know which of the various combinations, that Qualifications Wales suggest, will command the greatest public confidence. They don’t have time for any cul-de-sacs when it comes to planning the way ahead. 

“I look forward to hearing the Minister's conclusions but reiterate my call to her that she needs to give decisive leadership on this issue. We can’t let another cohort of young people face the anxiety about their futures that students this year went through.”

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One comment on “Exams regulator recommends GCSE exams be scrapped next summer”

  1. My son will have to return to school after the half term week and sit 2 exams for GCSE's. Education minister is making her announcement after these exams on 10th November. I don't see how any of this is fair on them as they've missed so much school time. Luckily my son is doing well and studying at home but not all children are the same. Even with assessment and coursework leading to their grades, they haven't done the work! Going into A levels having missed 2 very important years of study will have a knock on effect with many struggling along with A levels. What will happen then?

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