Petition Require local exam centres to accept home-educated students for public exams
Home-educated students need guaranteed access to suitable local examination centres at affordable prices, enabling them to have the same rights and access to qualifications as every other child in the UK.
Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, examination centres are closing their doors to external candidates making it increasingly difficult for home-educated students to gain qualifications. With many unable to obtain grades this summer, and the possibility of not being able to sit *any* exams this year coming, thousands of home-educated students will miss out on college places and be unable to move on to the next step of their education or professional life without government intervention.
This response was given on 15 February 2021
We want there to be a clear route for private candidates to receive a grade. We launched a consultation with Ofqual, seeking views on exam alternatives including options for private candidates.
While the Department continues to believe that exams are the fairest way of judging students’ performance, we cannot guarantee all students will be in a position to fairly sit their exams this summer. We have therefore confirmed that GCSEs, A and AS level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer.
The department and Ofqual have launched a joint consultation that seeks views on proposals that enable all candidates to receive a grade fairly. We have already confirmed our proposals that for the majority of students taking GCSEs, AS and A levels, grades should be awarded based on an assessment by teachers, with training and support provided to teachers.
We understand that private candidates and home educated students may have some questions about the decision to move to a form of teacher assessment. We also know of some private candidates who were unable to receive a grade in summer 2020 and who did not take the exams in the autumn who are particularly concerned about how the arrangements will work for them.
It is therefore important that there is a clear and accessible route for private candidates to be assessed and receive a grade. The department is committed to ensuring that the grades private candidates receive are fair, valid and consistent.
The department and Ofqual have set out four possible approaches for private candidates in the consultation. We also recognise that private candidates will need to be able to appeal their grade. The route for appeals will need to align with the way grades are determined.
We encourage private candidate representatives to respond to this consultation.
We will build on the joint stakeholder engagement that Ofqual and DfE undertook last year and engage with as many people as possible in an open and transparent way to consider the main options and their implications, including seeking the views of the students who would have sat exams this year and their parents.
Further details of alternative arrangements to exams will be confirmed as soon as possible, providing clarity to the sector and ensuring that students have the confidence that they will be fairly treated in terms of assessment in 2021.
Department for Education
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