Covid-19 Updates

Apologies if you’re a little overwhelmed with the amount of conversation around COVID-19/Coronavirus, however, it’s important to us that you know we have a plan in place to continue providing the same level of service you would ordinarily expect from us.

We are closely following advice from HM Government and our own offices are closed to everyone except key staff.  However,  all of our teams can, and are, working remotely with full access to our tools, servers and telephone systems.

Summer 2021 Exams (Updated 19/01/2021)

You will likely have seen the announcement by the UK government on further national restrictions being implemented in the UK, including UK school closures. We know that you will be thinking through and dealing with the implications of this across all areas of life and work – for yourselves and your families.

We would like to reassure you that we are working with Ofqual, and the relevant examination boards, to understand the implications of today’s announcements for our home educated students. We will share further details as soon as we are able, via email, social media, and on this webpage.

Last year Oxford Open Learning managed to provide the majority of its students with a Calculated Grade.  Whilst we expect that the system will be different this year from last, we will do everything in our power to make the same thing happen this year.

In the absence of any formal notifications regarding how candidate grades will be awarded following the cancellation of Summer 2021 exams, the media are attempting to fill the void.  This is not surprising given Ofqual has yet to release their consultation paper and that even when they do there will be a further two-week period in which to respond. We are not expecting to be able to provide details to our students until Ofqual and the exam boards release new information which may not be for several weeks.

Which exams have been cancelled?

GCSE and A levels with AQA and Edexcel have been cancelled.   International GCSEs have NOT been cancelled and are expected to go ahead in the Summer as usual.

AQA’s response to exam cancellations

the AQAs current position can be found here (Last Updated 6th Jan)


Pearson/Edexcels latest information can be found here  (Last Updated 6th Jan)


on the 15th of January, Ofqual and the DfE launched a consultation on how GCSEs and A levels will be assessed this year.  Unlike last year when private candidates were very much an afterthought, the consultation includes a section on how private candidates will be assessed and the issues affecting private.  The options being put forward include the following.

  1. for private candidates to complete the papers set by the exam boards for use in schools and colleges. The exam boards would mark the papers (and any completed non-exam assessment) and issue a grade
    to the private candidate based on their performance.
  2. for private candidates to work with a school or college willing to assess the standard at which they are performing – using the same type of evidence the school and college is considering for its students.
  3. for the exam boards to run normal exams for private candidates to take in the summer of 2021 – appropriate venues would need to be provided.
  4.  for the exam boards to run normal exams for private candidates to take in the autumn of 2021 – appropriate venues would need to be provided.

The consultation also goes on to say,

“We wish to be confident that there will be a route available for all private candidates to receive a grade. We recognise that, given the pressures on schools and colleges created by the pandemic, and the potential public health considerations, schools and colleges might be reluctant to make entries for and then assess private candidates this year. We also wish to manage the costs to private candidates. We know of some private candidates who were unable to receive a grade in summer 2020 and who did not take the exams in the autumn who are particularly concerned about how the arrangements will work for them. For these students, and others, any further delay could have significant consequences for their progression. We are interested to know which of these options private candidates, in particular, would prefer were put in place.”




And Finally

Oxford Home Schooling staff are working incredibly hard and diligently for you throughout this pandemic. They haven’t stopped since last February!

Our staff do not know any more than the information provided here. They are working under incredibly difficult circumstances, some from home, some from work.

We are acutely aware that the decision to cancel exams for the 2nd year running is extremely stressful for all parents/carers and learners.  Many of you are anxious and are looking for clarity as to what happens next.  As we are too! But please remember it is not our decision as to whether examinations take place or not, we are only acting on the instructions of the Awarding Bodies and Ofqual. We understand the importance of these qualifications to you and we’re here for you again this Summer, that you can be sure of.

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