The education policy team aim to keep this page updated weekly with latest news from government departments, awarding bodies, and those responsible for regulating education across the UK. This guidance is intended for teachers and technicians of 5 - 19 biology in schools, but may also be of use to those in the higher education sector and others involved in education.
The Royal Society of Biology has produced a page collating advice for students and parents to supplement remote learning during partial school closures. The Society also advises school leaders and teachers consider the questions in Education Endowment Foundation's Linking Learning resource - home learning support from mainstream schools.
The announcements below have been collected under three headings:
Reopening of schools
Department for Education guidance on actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak, and guidance for opening of schools. Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools and other educational settings is also provided. Guidance for parents and carers about schools and other education settings. Separate guidance has been published for specialist settings supporting children with SEND, further education and early years.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021, only children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people should attend school or college. All other pupils and students will receive remote education.
Simon Lebus, Interim Chief Regulator, Ofqual, responds to the Prime Minister's announcement about exams in 2021.
Scotland: Updated schools’ guidance.
On 8th December 2020 SQA announced the Higher and Advanced Higher 2021 exams are to be replaced.
Wales: Latest education updates from the Welsh Government.
On 10th November Wales’ approach for qualifications in 2021 was confirmed by Education Minister Kirsty Williams.
BAMEed: guidance for schools produced in line with NHS staff guidance, including a risk assessment for BAME staff returning to work in schools.
Practical activities at home and as schools reopen
CLEAPSS have provided advice for practical activities for pupils attending secondary school during periods of extended closure and guidance for science departments returning to school after a period of closure.
SSERC (Scotland) have some home learning resources on their website.
2020 Exam results news
On 20th August Ofqual published the following:
• Guide to results
• Requirements for the calculation of results in summer 2020
• Results tables for GCSE, AS and A level results in England 2020
• National Reference Test statement, digest and infographic
• Updated National Reference Test document collection
• Changes to awarding of GCSE, AS and A level: guide for teachers, students, parents and carers
Ofqual statement on grading vocational and technical qualifications this summer.
Ofqual statement on grading of VTQs, published on 18th August 2020. The statistical standardisation approach used in A levels and GCSEs was not used in most vocational and technical qualifications, including BTECs.
A statement from Roger Taylor, Chair, Ofqual, with information on how GCSE, AS and A level grades will be awarded this summer.
Ofqual's student guide to post-16 qualification results: summer 2020 and Student guide to appeals, malpractice and maladministration complaints: summer 2020.
Ofqual has published a guide for employers about qualification results in England this summer.
Ofqual has published a response to the Secretary of State's announcement on 12th August 2020. With a call to HEIs for flexibility this year published in a letter from Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, Ofqual.
JCQ has announced the examination dates for the autumn 2020 series in England.
Northern Ireland: Latest education updates.
Scotland: Students are to receive revised grades if the estimate provided by their school is higher than the result received last week.
Wales: On 12th August a press release announced the Minister for Education guarantees that a learner’s final A Level grade cannot be lower than their AS grade.
The latest information from the Children, Young People and Education Committee of @SeneddWales via @SeneddCYPE on Twitter.
Resources for remote learning
Department for Education (England) have collated a set of online education resources for schools and parents to help children learn at home, including maths and science. General guidance and advice for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students can be found in this collection. School or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams will not be published in 2020.
Education Scotland are working to support practitioners while schools are closed. The National Improvement Hub now has support for developing online opportunities for remote learning including early learning, the sciences, and staff health and wellbeing.
The Welsh Government has information online on education and Stay Safe. Stay Learning: supporting the education system. With resources available from the national learning platform, Hwb.
Ofqual has published a news story about the recent consultation on new statutory guidance for appeals; equalities analysis; the decisions following the recent consultation on an additional GCSE, AS and A level exam series in autumn 2020 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; and research about the impact of coursework on different students.