Policy and Practice round-up April 2020

14 April 2020

This month we bring you news of how GCSE and A Level grades will be decided this year; the Education Endowment Foundation’s concerns about the impact of school closure on the attainment gap; and advice on how to stay creative and keep your family sane during lockdown – from the world’s best teacher.

Ofqual announces how GCSE and A Level results will be awarded for 2020

Schools and colleges are being asked to award each of their students a centre assessment grade based on the best available evidence and also to provide a rank order of their students within each grade for each subject.

The ‘best available evidence’ can include:

  • classwork
  • bookwork
  • any participation in performances in subjects such as music, drama or PE
  • any non-exam assessment – whether or not complete
  • the results of any assignments or mock exams
  • previous examination results – for example, for any re-sitting students or those with relevant AS qualifications
  • any other records of student performance over the course of study

The rank order will be used in the statistical standardisation of centres’ judgements – allowing fine tuning of the standard applied across all schools and colleges. The deadline for submission of this information by the centres will be no earlier than 29 May and centres will have a window of two weeks to submit data.

Ofqual has stated that results will not be delayed beyond the normal August announcement dates – for 2020 A Level results were due on 13 August and GCSEs on 20 August – and will possibly will be announced earlier than usual.

Any students who feel that their grades do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the 2020 autumn series or in summer 2021. Ofqual will be publishing more information about the autumn 2020 exam series – we assume to confirm whether GCSEs other than Maths and English Language, currently the only GCSEs that can be taken in November each year, will be included.

You can read more on Ofqual’s webpages.

EEF highlights risk that school closures will increase attainment gap

The Education Endowment Foundation’s Chief Executive Professor Becky Francis has highlighted the risk of school closures increasing the attainment gap for children on Free School Meals. In a letter on 23 March she said:

“We should, however, be under no illusions about the potentially devastating impact that the combination of economic hardship and school closures will have on the poorest children and young people in our society.”

Francis highlighted the existing EEF publications which both have four key recommendations: Working with Parents to Support Children’s Learning and Using Digital Technology to Improve Learning. She also promised the EEF will be assembling practical tools and resources to help support schools to deliver learning while their sites are closed.

Francis also talked about how the EEF will be planning to help schools close the attainment gap when schools open again.

“We will be working across the system to build the evidence for how to best to help pupils bounce back when schools open again. Catch-up teaching targeted especially at those who have fallen furthest behind during this period will be essential.”

How to stay creative and keep your family sane during lockdown

Finally if you are home schooling your children we recommend this cheering article ‘How to stay creative and keep your family sane during lockdown’ from our Strategy Group member, Global Teacher of the Year 2018 and Associate Deputy Headteacher at Alperton Community School, Andria Zafirakou.


Image credit: FIGMENT 2016 3. Credit - Derby Museums Trust