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With the release of this summer’s exam topics swiftly upon us, are you and your students fully prepared for them? Here’s some advice for you and your students, who may be absent, and what to expect this summer.

The majority of focal points for GCSE, A-level and AS-level subjects have been released today. This has enabled a fair approach for students to be prepared as much as they can be. Considering this is the first time in three years that full exams are to return due to COVID complications, it highlights an important time for the education sector.

Some have questioned whether the return of exams this year is too early. An Independent Assessment Commission said:

“Rather than having to take them at 16, students should be able to take a reformed set of GCSE assessments between the ages of 14 and 19 based on when they are “ready”, the Independent Assessment Commission said.”

What are your thoughts regarding the reintroduction of exams this summer? How are students going to handle the pressure of being submitted to intense traditional hall exams with COVID heavily impacting them?

Non-attendees can still be helped with current exam measures

Exam boards have released information and advice on what is to be expected for this summer’s exams.

“The three English exam boards Pearson, OCR and AQA will each provide information for individual subjects on their websites. They will list the topics that will be the main focus of assessments, but will not cover everything which will be covered in the exams.”

Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland all have similar measures outlined which can be found here.

Despite the support students will receive, there could still be the potential of thousands of staff and students absent even during the exam period. Does it raise the question as to how absent students will be able to pass their exams if they’re forced off?

According to recent statistics:

“Attendance in all state-funded schools was 87.4% on 20 Jan, down from 88.6% on 6 Jan. We estimate that 9.0% of teachers and school leaders were absent from open schools on 20 Jan (with 4.5% absent for COVID-19 related reasons), up from 8.6% on 6 Jan.”

With the amount of lost learning that has occurred because of COVID, every student needs the best possible chance to achieve their targets.

graph to show learning loss in primary & secondary schoolsSource: National Foundation for Educational Research

Absent students may miss out on their targets if they are unable to attend their specified mock and full exam dates, so how could they fulfil their obligations?

Hybrid and remote learning has become drastically popular due to the pandemic with many even preferring learning at home and also completing exams and assessments in an environment they are comfortable.

If students cannot make it into school to complete traditional exams they can rest assured that multiple options can be explored that have arisen.

Fair to bring back exams so soon?

COVID has seen an unprecedented amount of lost learning for students demonstrating the benefits of hybrid teaching for absentees.

The release of exam topics early this year also highlights how beneficial it could be for students. Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said:

“It seems a reasonable balance between allowing time to cover as much of the course content as possible and time to focus on topics that will come up in the exams, given that both these considerations are important for students who have potentially missed out on learning.”

This year’s results are expected to be higher than 2019, but not expected to exceed 2020’s. External marking will return rather than relying on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs).

However, with the pandemic, there is always the possibility that exams fall through and contingency plans will have to be initiated. In summary, if this happens, it could see the return of TAGs. Are the return of exams too early for students or fair?

EDClass can support absent students with exams

EDClass currently has over 17,000 pre-made made lessons that match the UK’s current curriculum. EDClass TV also includes over 1,000 video lessons that are perfect for catch-up and revision for this year’s exams and can be accessed for just £9.99pm.

Topics ranging from Atoms in Science to Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in English Literature, plus much more, can be accessed through EDClass.

Absent students are also continuously assessed throughout their teaching and learning and can track their progress with the implemented tracking report.

Students can also complete mock or full exams if they cannot make it to their designated time slot in school and complete exams remotely via a fully locked down safeguarded application. EDClass’ UK-qualified teachers will also mark students’ work for them.

If you would like any information on the EDClass platform then call the team on 01909 568 338, send an email to or book a free online demonstration here.