DORSET schools responding to changes of A-Level and GCSE exam dates will ‘make it work’ after the Government announced they will be delayed by three weeks.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said 2021 exams will go ahead, but the majority of tests will be pushed back to give schoolchildren more time to catch up on their learning following school closures amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The exams, which usually begin in May, will be delayed to June and July – apart from the English and maths GCSEs which will take place before the half-term.

GCSE and A-level results will be given out to students in the same week in August following the change.

Mike Foley, headteacher at Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester, questioned if delaying exams will have any real benefits and noted it will cause a ripple effect within education.

He said: “We will make this work but we need to know more about the plans about exams so we can prepare for them. 

“We do not quite know what the proposals are in terms of lockdowns and what happens if students have to go into self-isolation several times during a year and how that will affect their exams and results.

Dorset Echo: BEACON: Thomas Hardye School 					Picture: FINNBARR WEBSTER F12101

“You also have to consider that teachers will be marking these exams and will have less time to examine them alongside teaching. 

“We need answers to various scenarios. If the Government can publish some plans, the sooner the better. Then schools can see the proposals and offer feedback and see if any changes can be made.” 

Mr Foley added that he called for the Government to learn from the mistakes of the handling of GCSE and A-Level exams and results and ensure similar problems do not occur again. 

Nigel Evans, principal at Weymouth College, feared it will cause a knock-on effect for students and teachers following a disrupted school year, but was determined to adapt to the changes. 

He said: “We are still working through it and the impact on our staff. Delays to exams will affect a number of things including preparing for exams and the dates of enrolment for new students.

“We will make it work whenever and however but I don’t know how difficult it will be to make it work. I am sure that we will hear more in the next few weeks.” 

Dorset Echo: Gavin Williamson recently made the annoucement about delays to A-Level and GCSE examsGavin Williamson recently made the annoucement about delays to A-Level and GCSE exams

Mr Evans also queried what this could mean for BTEC exams as he believes Government treats the qualification as ‘an afterthought’.

Mr Williamson believes the decision will help give students ‘the opportunity next summer to demonstrate what they know and can do.’

The 2021 exam series for the majority of A-levels and GCSEs will start on June 7 and end on July 2. 

One maths and one English GCSE exam will take place before the May half-term to give pupils who may need to self-isolate during the exam period the “best chance” of sitting a paper in these subjects, Mr Williamson said.

Some AS-levels and A-levels with very small numbers of students will also be scheduled before half-term.