Latest update on delivering education, training and assessment during lockdown in the UK

England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all currently in lockdown with residents only able to leave home for specific essential purposes such as food shopping and seeking medical care. Across all nations, people are being asked to work from home unless they are unable to. The legislation does make provision for those who are attending education or training and therefore some short courses may be unaffected.

In England, children of critical workers, vulnerable children and young people are still attending colleges – other students are being educated remotely. Similar arrangements are in place in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

After initially stating that vocational examinations scheduled for January would go ahead, the Department for Education changed its advice and has now placed the onus on colleges and providers to make the decision about whether these assessments will go ahead. Qualifications Wales has also announced that exams for Wales-only vocational qualifications in January will go ahead. The Department for Education has updated their guidance on for centres on delivering January exams with revised public health information.

The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, gave a statement to the House of Commons on 6 January confirming that GCSE and A Level examinations will not go ahead and will be replaced with teacher assessment. The situation around VTQs is still unclear and we are actively discussing this with Ofqual. A consultation will be launched next week, which will set out any proposed changes in approach. Ofqual have issued a public statement saying that discussions are underway and further details will be provided in due course. Ofqual also issued an RO letter on 7 January. Ofqual will be issuing a consultation to outline the options for both GQs and VTQs – we expect this to be published on Friday 15 January.

GQs examinations had already been cancelled in Scotland and Wales, and have now also been cancelled in Northern Ireland.

The Institute has announced the extension of flexibilities for EPA. EPAOs are encouraged to discuss any additional flexibilities that may be required.

Last updated 13 January 2021