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Health

English schools 2021 exams delayed by three weeks due to COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Children wave to friends from separate classes during an online assembly, as normal assemblies will not take place at the moment, on their first day of school at Holne Chase Primary School, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Milton Keynes, Britain, September 3, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

LONDON (Reuters) - Students in England will take school exams in the summer of 2021 but they will be delayed by three weeks to help address disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said on Monday.

Williamson was accused of overseeing a fiasco this summer over how results were awarded to teenagers unable to take their exams because of the crisis, after the mathematical model used to assess teacher’s predictions lowered grades for almost 40% of students taking their main school-leaving exams.

Teachers said he ignored warnings that the grading system would lead to unfair results and he was lampooned by the media for his handling of the issue.

“Exams are the fairest way of judging a student’s performance so they will go ahead, underpinned by contingency measures developed in partnership with the sector,” said Williamson.

“Students have experienced considerable disruption and it’s right we give them, and their teachers, the certainty that exams will go ahead and more time to prepare.”

England’s summer exam series will start on June 7 and end on July 2 for almost all AS, A levels and GCSEs, the government said. Results are slated to be delivered on August 24 for A/AS levels and August 27 for GCSEs. The plan is for students to start the following academic year as normal.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Michael Holden

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