EXAMS in schools in Wales could be delayed next year - but such a move will have a knock-on effect for results days and progression into further or higher education.

Education minister Kirsty Williams said the intention is to hold exams in secondary schools in Wales 2021, and a range of discussions and planning are going on around the issue.

A key aspect of this will be how subjects are taught - and the WJEC exam board is looking at amendments in a variety of subjects.

It could for instance mean that, in English literature, pupils will have to study fewer set texts.

Speaking at the Welsh Government's weekly coronavirus media briefing, Ms Williams said discussions are going on between Qualifications Wales and other exam regulators in the UK about next year's exams, how to progress, and what the consequences of changes to the system might be.

Following the controversy over this summer's A-level results and the consequent abandonment across the UK of the moderation system for these and for GCSEs - with grades then being based on teachers' original assessments - the UK Government and its devolved counterparts are keen to make sure that decisions on exams and the procedures around them are carefully considered.


Whether or not to delay exams is a key question, but given that these are usually held mainly in May and June, there is not too much room for manouevre - and putting them back a few weeks will impact on when results days are set, leaving less time for students to confirm or rearrange higher education places.

An independent review in Wales of the arrangements for awarding grades for the 2020 exams was announced last week, and an interim report of its key findings is expected by the end of October, with a final report and recommendations to follow by mid-December.

The review findings and recommendations will feed into arrangements for exams grading and moderation in 2021, but by the time they are published, pupils will be well into their year's work, whatever form that will take.