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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 full 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. Students to be given more time to prepare for 2021 exams.

Northern Ireland: Latest education updates. Schools and other education settings will have the half-term holiday break extended from 19 to 30 October. Changes to examinations and qualifications announced to support pupil progress.

Scotland: Latest guidance for local authorities and schools and for education authorities and teachers, with plans for a return to full-time schooling in August with advice on planning for re-opening schools safely. Students received their exam results on 4th August in Scotland. An update has been published on Closing the attainment gap.

SQA awards 2021 update. SQA has published a summary of the Higher and Advanced Higher modifications for 2020-21 for subjects including Biology and Human Biology; with refreshed general guidance on gathering and judging evidence to support estimates for National Courses.

Wales: Latest updates on school opening times and services from the Welsh Government.

BAMEed: guidance for schools produced in line with NHS staff guidance, including a risk assessment for BAME staff returning to work in schools.

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Practical activities at home and as schools reopen

CLEAPSS have produced guidance for teachers on practical activities for primary children attending school during a closure, suggested activities in a partially reopened primary school, and guidance for parents on carrying out practical activities at home. They have also 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.

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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

Updates from DfE and regulating bodies for teachers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales:

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.

A package of support including additional funding has been announced to help schools and parents.
Actions for schools in England during the coronavirus outbreak
Department of Education (Northern Ireland) have published FAQs for schools, and will be updating this page with information as further details are announced.

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 confirmed the changes to exams and assessments taking place in 2021 and has published a statement and decisions on these changes.

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.

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