Proposals for an additional exam series in autumn 2021 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This consultation closes at

Consultation description

Proposals at a glance

Exams for GCSEs, AS, A levels and the Advanced Extension Award in summer 2021 have been cancelled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. When the government set out its policy on how grades for these qualifications should be issued instead, it also confirmed that it wanted students to have the opportunity to take exams in autumn 2021 if they wish to try and improve on their teacher assessed grades with which they will be issued this summer. The Secretary of State, in his direction to Ofqual, said he expects Ofqual to make provision for this.

We are seeking views on how an autumn exam series should run, including on our proposals that:

  • any student who receives a teacher assessed grade in summer 2021 should be able to enter the autumn exams

  • any student who an exam board is satisfied would have taken exams in summer 2021 had they not been cancelled, but who did not receive a teacher assessed grade, should be able to enter the autumn exams. We are seeking views on whether other students should be permitted to enter the autumn exams

  • grades should be determined by a student’s performance in the exams alone; non-exam assessments should not be taken into account (with the exception of art and design qualifications)

  • art and design qualifications, for which there are not normally any exams, should be assessed through students completing an exam board’s set task only

  • the exams should be in their usual form and in their usual number for each subject

  • A level exams (and any AS exams) should be held in October and GCSE exams in November and December

  • students will be able to use the better of the summer or the autumn grade

  • exam boards will replace certificates showing only summer 2021 grades with certificates showing autumn grades if a student requests this

  • normal reviews of marking and appeal arrangements will apply

  • the exam boards should be required to offer exams in all GCSE and A level subjects, unless there are no entries for that subject by the time of the closing date. We are seeking views on whether we should require or permit the exam boards to offer AS exams, or prohibit them from doing so

  • no new requirements will be placed on the exam boards that offer Project qualifications or the Advanced Extension Award in respect of making awards in the autumn


This consultation is open to anyone who may wish to respond but may be of most interest to students who were expecting to take GCSE, AS or A level exams in the summer, teachers of those qualifications and exam boards.


Consultation on arrangements for an autumn 2021 exam series (HTML version)

Ref: Ofqual/21/6756HTML

Consultation on arrangements for an autumn 2021 exam series

Ref: Ofqual/21/6756PDF, 367KB, 31 pages

Ways to respond

Respond online

Published 17 March 2021