Changes to GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022

ASCL response to DfE and Ofqual consultation on the proposed changes to the assessment
of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022.
ASCL welcomes these proposals, and the fact that the Department for Education and 
Ofqual have accepted that adaptations need to be made to both general and vocational 
and technical qualifications this year, to recognise the ongoing impact of the pandemic. 
It is helpful that this consultation has come out earlier than last year, but disappointing 
that these decisions have again not been made in time for schools and colleges to plan 
their approach to teaching, learning and assessment for September. The decision to 
delay confirming adaptions to the summer 2021 exam series (had it gone ahead) until 
the autumn term placed considerable stress, anxiety and workload on school and 
college leaders, teachers, students and parents. All these key stakeholders need to 
know the proposed adaptations before the start of the academic year.

With this in mind, we are also disappointed that this consultation does not seek views 
on specific contingency plans in the event that public exams are deemed untenable in 
2022. Throughout autumn 2020, the sector was told repeatedly by ministers and 
government officials that exams would go ahead in summer 2021, and that contingency 
plans therefore weren’t required, only for that to change on 4 January 2021. As late as 
8 December 2020, the Chief Regulator advised Parliament that schools and colleges 
did not need to collate any formal evidence of students’ performance. This remark, and 
the subsequent government u-turn three weeks later, resulted in considerable and 
unnecessary workload and anxiety for leaders, teachers, students and parents.

Full response to consultation