GCSE students set to be given exam aids for one more year

It follows Nick Gibb, ex-schools minister, saying there was 'an expectation' the support would not be offered this year

It follows Nick Gibb, ex-schools minister, saying there was 'an expectation' the support would not be offered this year

Students taking GCSE maths, physics and combined science will be given exam aids for one final year due to the pandemic disruption, under government proposals published today.

This comes despite former schools minister Nick Gibb previously saying there was an “expectation” that formula and equation sheets would not be offered for 2024 tests.

However, a two-week consultation published today proposes that this support continue for exams next summer, “in view of the disruption this cohort of students may have experienced”. 

Ofqual said there was “strong support” for the aids in 2022 and 2023 and that they “had a positive impact on student confidence when preparing for their exams”. 

The regulator’s review of those assessments “indicates that there is no evidence that the functioning of the assessment was compromised”. 

But DfE said in 2025 exams will return entirely back to normal. 

This reflects “that those pupils will have had the opportunity to benefit from more time with support from teachers and interventions such as the National Tutoring Programme, compared to students from the previous two cohorts”. 

Dr Jo Saxton, Ofqual chief regulator, previously confirmed there would be no grading protection in 2024.

This summer’s exams marked the end of a two-year plan to remove pandemic inflation. 

Returning back to pre-pandemic standards means “people know what that benchmark is and what students need to know, understand and do to achieve a certain grade,” Saxton said.

Asked whether it was fair to have no protections next year, she said while the pandemic has “cast a long shadow” it is “further and further in the past”.

Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan said today:“Young people taking GCSEs next year will be the last who experienced two years of national closures during secondary school and it’s right that we recognise that with some additional support.

“GCSEs are young people’s passport to their next stage of education and we must ensure students have the opportunity to show what they know and can do, and ultimately meet their potential.”

The exam aids will also apply to GCSE maths resit students.

The consultation will run until 11.45pm on November 30.

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