Update from Pearson regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak
The UK Government has announced that UK schools, colleges and higher education providers will close from Friday 20 March and that exams will not be held in May and June. Given the challenging circumstances we all currently face, our focus is now on keeping everyone safe and supporting learners to achieve the qualifications they need to progress to the next stage of their lives.
Today’s announcement from the Secretary of State provides greater clarity on the approach to student assessment for those learners that were planning to sit exams this summer.
Our overwhelming priority is to support teachers and their students during this time of uncertainty. Learners in schools, colleges and higher education across the UK have put in huge amounts of work to get to this point and we intend to ensure they achieve the grades they deserve to move to the next stage.
We continue to work around the clock with the Department for Education, Ofqual and the other exam boards to define the detail of how this will work and will share information as soon as we have it.
We welcome the principles being used for the assessment and believe they will deliver fair outcomes. It’s important that professional teacher judgements are taken into account, that a wide range of evidence is used and that there will be a clear appeals process. Students that prefer to sit a paper later in the year will also have the opportunity to do so.
For our BTEC vocational qualifications, we feel confident we can award grades for students finishing this academic year by working closely with teachers to collate completed student grades, taking into account student progress on assignments and course work to date and by sampling and verifying student work. Again, we are working to understand the implications of the current context for BTECs and other applied general qualifications and will communicate with learners as soon as we can.
These are unprecedented times, so please bear with us. We are grateful for your patience and please rest assured that we will update you as soon as we have more information.
My thoughts and best wishes are with you all.
President, Pearson UK & Global Online Learning