Students in England will receive advance notice of topics and be allowed to take aids into their exams, as part of a set of measures designed to counteract the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Discussing the government’s plan, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the new rules will help pupils catch up where they have missed out, so there is a level playing field across the country when they take their A-Levels and GCSEs in the summer.

“We’ve put a package of things together that’s really fair for children.”Education secretary @GavinWilliamson says the govt’s new rules for exams in England, will help pupils to “catch up where they have missed out”.#KayBurley:

I know students are facing unprecedented disruption to their learning. That’s why exams will be different next year. [We are] taking exceptional steps to ensure they are as fair as possible.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, praised the announcement for providing teachers and pupils with some clarity after weeks of uncertainty. However, she raised the concern that the new exam regime might still be unfair for those students who have had to self-isolate due to Covid-19 outbreaks and restrictions.

The announcement comes amid pressure on the government to avoid a repeat of last year’s situation, with exams cancelled and standardised grades scrapped, replaced with school-assessed grades that were seen as potentially unfair.

The government has already delayed the exam season by three weeks to extend teaching time, and has a system in place to assist any student forced to miss a paper due to Covid-19.

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