Yesterday (4 January 2021), Education Minister, Kirsty Williams announced that schools and colleges in Wales will remain closed until 18 January 2021. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson also announced new nationwide measures for England which included confirmation that schools and colleges in England will not reopen until after the February half-term and we are and we are aware that centres need confirmation of the impact on WJEC vocational and other general (non GCSE/GCE A Level) examinations.
The majority of WJEC examinations taking place this month are in addition to our standard examination and assessment timetable and have been put in place to provide an opportunity for learners who are unhappy with the centre assessed grade awarded in Summer 2020 to sit the examinations and achieve a new grade. There may also be private candidates who were unable to receive a centre assessed grade in the Summer who want to sit the assessment in January to allow them to progress. Many of our examinations are also open to learners who are entering for the first time where their teacher has judged that they are ready for assessment.
For this reason, following discussions with Qualifications Wales, we can confirm that examinations for our vocational and other general qualifications will continue in line with the examinations timetable published here.
We believe that centres are best placed to make decisions regarding their learners and we appreciate that senior leaders, teachers, exams officers and other centre personnel will be urgently reviewing their proposals for managing and delivering examinations. We understand that some centres may decide that they no longer want their learners to sit examinations in the January series whereas other centres may wish them to continue.
We have waived our late fees and amendment fees for the January series to allow centres the flexibility to make decisions that are right for their learners without concern for the financial impact. Centres should endeavour to make their amendments by Friday 20 January 2021.
We continue to liaise with Qualifications Wales, Ofqual and the DfE to seek clarification on the arrangements for examinations in Summer 2021 and will provide further information as soon as possible.
We know this is an incredibly worrying time for you and your learners and we thank you for your patience as we seek to provide the answers that you need.