Welsh education minister confirms there will be no end of year exams for learners next year

Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed (Tuesday 10 November ) Wales’ approach for qualifications in 2021. She has confirmed that there will be no end of year exams for learners taking GCSEs, AS levels or A levels.

The Minister outlined:

  • that in place of exams, the Welsh Government intended to work with schools and colleges to take forward teacher-managed assessments
  • that this should include assessments that will be externally set and marked but delivered within a classroom environment under teacher supervision
  • her expectation this work will form the basis for centre-based outcomes which will be linked to an agreed national approach to provide consistency across Wales


 Kirsty Williams is reported to have said:

The well-being of learners and ensuring fairness across the system is central in our decision making process.

In line with the recommendations of both Qualifications Wales and the Independent Review, there will be no exams for GCSE or AS level learners next year. A-level students will also not be required to sit exams.

We remain optimistic that the public heath situation will improve, but the primary reason for my decision is down to fairness; the time learners will spend in schools and colleges will vary hugely and, in this situation, it is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.

We have consulted with universities across the UK and they have confirmed that they are used to accepting many different types of qualifications.

They expect a transparent and robust approach which provides evidence of a learner’s knowledge and ability. 

Our intended approach does just that, as it is designed to maximise the time for teaching and learning. 

Cancelling exams provides time for teaching and learning to continue throughout the summer term, to build the knowledge, skills and confidence in our learners to progress in whatever they decide to do


Michele Gregson, general secretary of NSEAD said: 'NSEAD is committed to ensuring equity in the 2021 examination series and we believed controlled teacher assessments in all subjects are a step in the right direction. We are calling on the Minister for Education in England, to follow suit'.