Westminster Education Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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England’s exam system - the impact of COVID-19, priorities for exams and assessment in 2021, and the future use of technology

Morning, Wednesday, 3rd March 2021

THIS EVENT IS CPD CERTIFIED


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the priorities for England’s exam system.


This seminar will be an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss key issues - and further options for the system and exam regulation going forward


It  takes places with the Government recently announcing that GCSE, A and AS Level exams will not go ahead this summer with grades to be awarded using a form of teacher assessment. It also follows a recently launched Ofqual consultation on the new arrangements alongside a consultation on arrangements for the awarding of vocational qualifications.


Sessions will include discussion on:

  • arrangements for awarding qualifications 2021, and lessons learnt from the impact of COVID-19 on the exam system
  • next steps in ensuring a high quality exam system that is accessible for all students
  • the future use of alternative summative assessment
  • latest thinking on opportunities for utilising technology

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from the DfE; Ofsted; the IATE; HMRC and HMPPS.


The seminar is supported by Surpass, by BTL, and organised on the basis of strict impartiality by the Westminster Education Forum.


The agenda:

  • Lessons learnt from the 2020 exam season and key priorities moving forward
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the exam system - identifying areas for improvement, evaluating the response of stakeholders and students and preparations for awarding qualifications in 2021
  • Key priorities for reform post COVID-19
  • The next steps in developing a high quality, accessible exam system and the future use of alternative summative assessment models
  • ‘The role of formative and continuous summative assessment in general qualifications’
  • The future for England’s exam system - building on best practice from the 2020 series, the role of technology and ensuring qualifications equip young people with the skills to succeed post-18

Key areas for discussion:

Adapting the exam system to deliver high quality and accessibility, and options for awarding qualifications in 2021

  • looking ahead to the awarding of qualifications in 2021- as the Education Secretary announces that exams will not go ahead, with teacher assessment being used in their place
  • the arrangements for 2021 - looking at:
    • how to maximise the time that students are taught to ensure that they have an opportunity to catch up and progress successfully
    • ways in which teachers can be supported to assess students fairly and consistently, and the training and guidance that they will be given to ensure that they are not overburdened
    • the broader evidence that should be used to determine a teacher evidence, and if externally set tasks and pre prepared questions set by exam boards should be recommended or required
    • if pre-prepared questions are used - whether these should be set tests where all students complete the same task, or if teachers are able to use a ‘question bank’ to ensure that students are only assessed on what they have studied
    • the way in which external assessment will work - if students will complete the tasks under exam conditions and if students that are self isolating will be able to sit the tasks at home
    • how to ensure that students are assessed across the whole curriculum whilst balancing against assessing content which students have not had a chance to study
    • quality assurance in teacher assessment - addressing concerns of exam boards on the exceptional nature of changes to grades as a result of external assessment
    • the way in which the appeals process for 2021 will work
  • the timetable for the awarding of grades in 2021 and how to ensure that this works for FE and HE providers
  • how a balance with positive exam results can be achieved - particularly in light of challenges presented by the pandemic - with Ofsted’s new education inspection framework including an increased focus on ensuring that schools deliver a broad and balanced curriculum

The summer and autumn 2020 exams series
Adapting the system to meet the challenges created by COVID-19:

  • lessons that can be learnt from the exams season in 2020, including:
    • the awarding of calculated grades
    • the methodology used following a recent announced review by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR)
    • the appeals process
    • the autumn 2020 series
  • how the measures taken in the autumn series - following responses to Ofqual’s consultation on an additional GCSE, AS and A level exam series in autumn 2020 - including social distancing can be applied to future exams series if necessary and key lessons that can be learnt in terms of exam timing and the future provision of re-sits
  • whether the measures put in place to award students’ calculated grades last summer were sufficiently robust and had the confidence of both students and parents

The future role of technology to improve the exam system and accessibility

  • use of technology and improving the exams process, looking at:
    • testing and marking
    • the likely impact of the pandemic, and how what has been learned from the utilisation of technology can be built upon - including the future of paper as part of exams and in marking practices with Ofqual exploring the potential future use of AI in marking
  • improving the accessibility of the exam system - including for pupils with SEND and learning difficulties - particularly in the autumn series with the Department for Education issuing guidance for exam centres in light of the pandemic
  • allowing young people to better demonstrate the skills they use within and outside of the classroom - opportunities edtech solutions and other assessment models can provide, particularly through the use of course work - and how these models can be better implemented within the overall system

Policy officials attending

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stake holders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Education; Ofsted; the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education; HM Revenue & Customs; and Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service. Also due to attend are representatives from AQA; BDAT; Bracknell Forest Borough Council; Buckinghamshire College Group; Cambridge Assessment International Education; Cambridge Partnership for Education; Cambridge University; Cambridge University Press; Camden Virtual School; City of London School; Cognus; Doublestruck; DRS Data Services; English Speaking Board - International; GCSEPod; GL Assessment; Hailsham Community College; Hewitsons; Ibstock Place School; Immanuel College; Kent Specialist Teacher and Learning Service - Sensory; London Borough of Merton; London North East Maths Hub; Middlesbrough Council; Mill Hill School; National Foundation for Educational Research; NCCA; NCFE CACHE; NFER; OCR; Oxford University Press; Pearson; PwC; Range High School; Royal Society of Chemistry; Suffolk One; Surpass; The Bell Foundation; The Education People; The Open University; University of Oxford; Virtual School; VTCT; Walton Academy; Wellington College; West Sussex County Council and Winstanley College.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



Keynote Speaker

Jill Duffy

Chief Executive, OCR

Supported by

Keynote Speakers

Simon Trevers

Chief Strategy Officer, Surpass, by BTL

Jill Duffy

Chief Executive, OCR

Dr Philip Wright

Director General, Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

Chair

Rt Hon the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

former Shadow Spokesperson on Education

Speakers

Dale Bassett

Director, International and Curriculum Strategy, AQA

James Clay

Head of Higher Education and Student Experience, Jisc

David Gallagher

Chief Executive, NCFE

Dr Mary Richardson

Senior Lecturer (Assessment) and Associate Professor of Education, UCL Institute of Education

Roy Blatchford

Chair, ASCL Independent Enquiry into the ‘Forgotten Third’

Professor Sandra McNally

Director of Education and Skills Programme, Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) and Director of Centre for Vocational Education Research (CVER), London School of Economics

Dave MacCormick

Headteacher, Holyrood Academy, Somerset

Derek Richardson

Vice President, Pearson

Matt Wingfield

Chair, The e-Assessment Association

Alexander Shea

Senior Policy Analyst, BESA