Exams for students taking a variety of qualifications have been cancelled this summer There are many questions still to be answered about what comes next.


Here are the key things we know so far:

  • Students will still receive grades this summer and certificates that allow them to progress to the next stage of their education/career.
  • Currently the aim is that these grades will be awarded in late July.
  • The approach to arriving at these grades will differ between the nations of the UK and between qualification type.
  • For most, including GCSEs, AS- and A-levels, teachers will be asked to submit their judgements about the grades they believe each student would have received if exams had gone ahead.
  • Some have asked if this means that students will get the grade they got in their mock exams, where mocks have been completed. The answer is “not necessarily”.
  • The results of mocks could be used by teachers to help them come to a judgement, but they will be asked to take account of a range of other evidence to come to a decision.
  • Other sources of evidence might include classwork which students have completed, coursework, controlled assessment and practical pieces.
  • Exam boards and regulators will be providing clear guidance to teachers on what they are asking them to submit and how they are asking them to come to those decisions.
  • These judgements will then be considered by the exam boards and the regulator, along with other evidence and prior attainment - information that is used in awarding every summer - to produce a final calculated grade which will then be awarded to students.
  • The NEU will be working with qualifications regulators and awarding organisations to help make sure the guidance they produce for teachers is as useful as it can be and that the process is as fair for students as possible.
  • Students will also have the chance to sit exams at the earliest reasonable opportunity once schools and colleges reopen, or in summer 2021.

Qualifications such as BTECs and Cambridge Nationals, along with vocational qualifications more generally, have more variety in their assessment methods than GCSEs and A-levels. As such, flexibility is being encouraged by DfE, to arrive at the best approach for each qualification.


This means, however, that it might take longer to consider the options for these qualifications. The union is currently waiting for more information to be provided about what the approach should be.


There will be many more questions that have not yet been answered, and the NEU is working with all awarding organisations and regulators to ensure more information can be passed on to schools and teachers as quickly and clearly as possible.


We will continue to update this page with new information.

Links to further information from various awarding organisations, the regulator in England, Ofqual, and the DfE.


DfE latest announcement (20 March)
DfE FAQs on the cancellation of GCSE, AS and A-Level exams
AQA Coronavirus update
OCR Coronavirus update
Eduqas Coronavirus update
International Baccalaureate update
Pearson Coronavirus update
WJEC Coronavirus update
Ofqual update following announcement on exams and grades