GCSE exams should be dropped in Wales this year.

That is the advice of Qualifications Wales, who have written to education minister Kirsty Williams advising her to ditch the timetabled exams.

The body are recommending that only those studying for A levels sit timetabled exams next year.

Students at GCSE and AS level should instead be awarded grades based on coursework and a set of common assessments taken during the year.

It is also recommended that schools and colleges are given windows of opportunity for when assessments take place within which there will be some flexibility.

For A levels, in addition to coursework and set tasks, learners would need to sit one exam per subject – but with a backup opportunity to take the exam if the pupil is ill or is self-isolating.

The proposals, Qualification Wales says, give schools and colleges greater flexibility in when to deliver assessments and provide more certainty for 2021 without the need for additional contingency arrangements.


The education minister said: "I know how important an issue next year’s exams are for many learners and their families.

"At a press conference last week I said that I would soon make a decision on what qualifications in Wales would look like next year and that I would announce that decision on Tuesday, November 10.

"The reason for waiting until then is so that all learners will be back in school following the fire-break with access to, and support from, their teachers.

"I also said that I was awaiting important information and advice relating to qualifications before making any decisions.

"Today, I am pleased to confirm I have received both pieces of advice and they are publicly available on the links below.

"I would like to thank both Qualifications Wales and the review panel chaired by Louise Casella, director of the Open University in Wales, for their thorough work and preparing these important documents for consideration.

"I have always said that it is vital that we hear from learners who took qualifications this year, and those due to take qualifications next year, to learn from their experiences before reaching a final decision.

"The independent review’s recent consultation was open to learners, I look forward to reading what they have had to say and am pleased that this information will now help inform our final decision on next year’s exams.

"I will now consider these pieces of advice before discussing next week with young people and the workforce before announcing our decision on Tuesday, November 10."