Challenges for academic year 2020-21 - We must focus on teaching and learning and not only assessment


ColegauCymru notes with interest the proposals from Qualifications Wales and the content of the interim report published by Louise Casella in response to the Minister for Education’s announcement on the Independent review of the summer 2020 arrangements to award grades, and considerations for summer 2021. 

The focus must balance a view on teaching and learning and not only assessment. ColegauCymru urges the Minister to ensure that decisions for summer examinations and assessment must be based on what has been taught as well as how and what is assessed.

ColegauCymru is currently considering our own response to the Review and the guidance prepared for the Minister by Qualifications Wales. We note that a carefully constructed programme based on collaboration and joint working is called for in both instances and must be accepted as the way forward.  

ColegauCymru Chair Dafydd Evans said, 

“The delivery of education, both for vocational and academic programmes, has been disrupted in an unprecedented way. This, as well as the practical implications of undertaking examinations and assessments must have an influence on how and when assessment takes place.” 

ColegauCymru reiterates the points made to both the Review and the various working groups looking at finding a workable solution. Namely: 

  • The impact of the disruption to the 2019/20 academic year has not been fully addressed. 
  • The current year, less than one half term old, has seen teaching already disrupted by no fault of the staff and learners.  
  • Success of any mitigations and adaptations adopted for the current academic year will be judged by the way in which they help or hinder learner progression to the next stage of education and into work - any plan must be flexible and responsive to what lies ahead and the likelihood of further disruption to teaching and learning.  
  • There will be a need for ongoing support for learners to enable their schools, colleges and universities to assist them over the medium term, as well as a role for employers in ensuring that trade-based qualifications can be completed. 

ColegauCymru Chief Executive Iestyn Davies added, 

“We continue to urge the Minister to listen and fully respond to the findings and recommendations of the Independent Review. The Minister must be able to make an informed decision for the benefit of learners in Wales, in the context of both academic and vocational qualifications.” 

ColegauCymru will continue to work closely with Qualifications Wales, the independent Review and Welsh Government colleagues as we look to find an equitable way to manage 2020-21 assessment for both academic and vocational programmes. As always, the best interests of learners will remain at the heart of all decision making. 

Further Information

Welsh Government Press Release 
An update from the Education Minister on qualifications in Wales 
29 October 2020 

Welsh Government Cabinet Statement 
Written Statement: Advice to inform the approach to qualifications in 2021 
29 October 2020 

Welsh Government Policy and Strategy 
Independent review of the summer 2020 arrangements to award grades, and considerations for summer 2021 
29 October 2020 

Qualifications Wales Press Release 
QW recommends way forward for awarding qualifications in summer 2021 
29 October 2020 

Datganiad Cabinet Llywodraeth Cymru 
Datganiad Ysgrifenedig: Adolygiad annibynnol o’r trefniadau ar gyfer dyfarnu graddau cyfres arholiadau haf 2020, a’r ystyriaethau ar gyfer 2021 
28 Awst 2020 


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