An Overview of the 2022 Exam Season (And How This Affects Your Education Marketing)
2022 marks the return of GCSE, AS GCE, and A-Level exams, after two years of cancelled papers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, with almost 200,000 pupils off school at any moment right now, and some students missing one in ten lessons due to absence, it’s safe to say that COVID-19 will still have a significant impact on this year’s exam season.
Although ministers insist all GCSE, GCE AS, and A-Level exams will return to normal this year, staff and students alike will clearly face significant worries this summer term, with the impact on grades and wellbeing likely felt for several more years to come.
Changes to this year’s exams
The Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents exam boards, has published their updated guidance on what’ll happen for schools in England if a student misses one or more of their exams due to COVID.
A range of measures has been put in place to support students taking GCSE, GCE AS, and A-Level exams that education businesses should be aware of.
Students can miss a GCSE or A-Level exam if COVID-positive – but have been instructed not to test.
According to the updating guidance, students who test positive for COVID-19 are advised to stay at home for three days during their exam period. However, Headteachers have expressed concerns of the risk that students will bring COVID-19 into the exam hall, because the current testing guidelines say under-18s shouldn’t test unless instructed to by a health professional. It is therefore likely that a spike in COVID-19 numbers could be seen during GCSE groups over the summer term. With smaller group sizes and the over-18s able to test, Sixth Forms shouldn’t be affected as badly.
Students are also instructed to remain at home if they are unwell and have a high temperature, and should do so until they feel well enough to attend, with no minimum quarantine period.
Students who only present mild symptoms, or who live with someone who has tested positive, are encouraged to attend school and sit their exams as usual.
Exams will be spaced out.
There will be a minimum of ten days between the first and last examination in each GCSE, AS GSE, and A-Level specification. This is designed to reduce the chance of a student missing all of their exams in one subject due to illness. For example, the two GCSE English Language papers will be sat on the 18th of May and 10th of June, and the three GCSE Maths papers will be spread across the 20th of May, 7th of June, and 13th of June.
Advance information will be provided.
Advance information on the focus of examinations for most subjects will be provided to support revision. Students will also be provided with additional support materials for some examinations, such as formulae and equation sheets.
Grading criteria will be more generous compared to the June 2019 exams.
Exam boards are offering a fairer, gradual return to pre-pandemic grading standards. They recognise the attainment levels of students across the country is still lower than average, and in response will use a more lenient grading scheme to provide a ‘safety net’ for students.
- There’ll be changes to non-examination assessment and fieldwork requirements in some subjects.
- Some GCSE specifications will include optional content.
- Masks and COVID tests in schools are not expected to return even in the fact of a resurgence of the virus.
In Primary School news…
Teachers wanted this month’s KS2 Sats to be cancelled
Daniel Kebede, the president of the NEU teaching union has labelled the decision to go ahead with Sats this year, for the first time during the pandemic, as ‘utterly brutal’.
“Despite the continuing chaos of COVID, despite the need to plan a programme of recovery from the pandemic, despite the need for us to focus on children's social and relational skills, despite the need for focus on children's wellbeing and mental health, this government has insisted that these flawed tests should go ahead.”
As we all know, the COVID-19 landscape can be a tad unpredictable, to say the least. But, with the majority of exams starting next week, and the government stating they don’t expect these plans to change “except in the very unlikely case of a public health emergency”, it’s likely the outlined steps will remain the same throughout the entirety of the exam period, with no major further changes to be aware of.
So, what does that mean for you education businesses?
It’s not too late to help schools get through the exam season!
While schools will have already chosen the main brunt of their exam preparation and revision materials months ago, there’s always the chance they’ll need to top-up with last-minute additions.
Perhaps students will come out of their first subject exam wishing they’d had better resources to prepare in a specific area or method before their second subject exam. Or perhaps the return to traditional exams will highlight factors that could be better managed from one exam to the next, such as new exam signage or even a full school management information system.
Stay on your toes
So, following on from this point, you’ll need to remain on the ball when it comes to supporting schools. Pop a reminder in your calendar to check in with schools every few weeks during the exam season to see if they have any concerns they can address. Even better, go one step beyond and find out schools’ concerns from education news articles or social media, come up with the perfect, stress-busting solution, and email it to them with a ta-da!
While we hate to say it… while there’s an almost zero-percent chance schools’ COVID guidance will change throughout the exam period, it’s not quite zero. So, on your daily browse of your favourite education news website, keep an eye out for any COVID updates or related news stories that you might also need to react to in your education marketing during this period.
Look ahead to September
As we’ve covered in some of our recent blogs, these summer months are schools’ key buying period for the entire year. And while 2022’s exams will be done and dusted in barely more than a few weeks, the impact is a cycle that’ll take schools through right until next year’s exam period.
First, there’s the obvious results day to contend with. There’ll always be a few students who don’t quite get the marks they were hoping for. Resits will be on the table, and schools will be looking for new resources and other ways to support their students to help them get better marks.
Even if a teacher had a classful of top-marks students, they’ll always be thinking of how they can improve for next year as early as their teaching begins in September. And as we’ve covered, to sell to schools in September, you need to plant the seed right now.
So, where do you go from here?
Contact our education specialists on email@example.com or 01684 297374, and we’ll help you get full marks in your next education marketing strategy!
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