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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.

Northern Ireland: Latest education updates.

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.

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.

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology update on COVID-19, children and 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, managing hands on activities and 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


Latest guidance from Ofqual for teachers, parents, carers and students.

A letter to schools and colleges about results this summer. With additional information for students on their results. Your results, what next? Has been produced as a leaflet, and a poster. These resources include details of online information and telephone advice lines.

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.

Exam cancellation and resources for remote learning

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

AQA will update this page with details on plans for technical and vocational qualifications. Details of how grades will be awarded without exams for GCSE, AS and A levels has also been published.

Cambridge Assessment are monitoring the situation for International Schools worldwide, with help of regional teams, their website now includes FAQs for schools and support for teachers.

CCEA have produced FAQs for GCSEs and A levels, and will continue to provide updates via their website. CCEA are working with awarding organisations, regulators and the wider sectors to develop an approach for vocational and technical qualifications.

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. education settings 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.
Updated guidance on summer 2020 GCSEs, AS and A level grades for students in year 10 and below and for private candidates.
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.

Eduqas will contact schools and colleges in April to provide further details on submitting grades. Further information will be provided on their website.

OCR ask teachers to ensure they provide an email accessible at home and at school, and have summarised Ofqual's announcements regarding awarding of grades. Support pages have been published for teachers, students, exam officers and assessment specialists; with blogs on home learning resources written by subject advisors. OCR has confirmed the arrangements for Cambridge Technicals grades this summer.

New teaching and learning support for teachers of Year 11 and Year 13, infographics showing how grades will be standardised, and short videos to explain the process.

In August OCR is running online training events for exams officers involved in administering and managing results and appeals.

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. 

Pearson Edexcel, BTEC will post regular updates on their Schools, Colleges and Higher Education support pages.

Qualifications Wales / Cymwysterau Cymru ask those responsible for an exam centre to ensure lines of communication remain open between the centre and awarding bodies they work with, and will update via their website. With additional updates also online.

SQA has provided an update on the evidence-based judgements that will help inform certification at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher. Advice is also provided to colleges assessing HNC, HND, NC NPA and NQ units. SQA has published its approach for awarding grades.

SQA latest updates are now online.

SQA encourages all candidates to sign up to MySQA as a direct way to receive their results.

WJEC will contact schools and colleges in April to provide further details on submission of grades. Teaching resources have been put online by WJEC, in addition to WJEC Information to Centres guidance.

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