Education Policy Institute Position on Testing and Examinations in 2021

Education Policy Institute

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published its recommendations on how the government should approach GCSE and A level exams in England in 2021, including a back-up plan in the event that exams are cancelled again in the summer.

National exams were cancelled in the summer of 2020, which led the government to opt for a number of alternative grade arrangements, before finally deciding in most cases to fall back on pupils’ teacher assessed grades.

In contrast to other UK nations, the government has announced that all major summer exams next year are set to go ahead in England – but they will be delayed by three weeks to give schools and pupils extra time to prepare.

The government is yet to set out a Plan B for summer examinations, in the event that they are unable to take place again due to the pandemic. It continues to consult with Ofqual and exam boards on “contingency plans”, which are expected to be announced before Christmas.

The new EPI report contains recommendations on how the government should proceed with testing and examinations next year, including a contingency plan, designed both to ensure fairness for pupils and be deliverable given the short timescales involved.

The report also considers how the government can mitigate against lost learning time as a result of the pandemic, which is likely to have disproportionately affected the most disadvantaged pupils.

You can download the paper here


Virtual Education Expo UK is an online, virtual, exhibition those wishing to enroll on courses in 2020 in the UK, allowing course-seekers to connect and engage with colleges and course providers from their home, office or smartphone.

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