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Curriculum and assessment

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NAHT is working to ensure that the curriculum supports the learning, progress and success of all pupils. NAHT supports the principle that a broad and balanced curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

NAHT is campaigning to: 

Support schools to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for their pupils

  • Challenge the government policy, including EBacc, which may narrow the curriculum
  • Enable and support schools to successfully deliver statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education
  • Lobby for improvements to government policy which supports schools to deliver inclusive education and fulfil their responsibilities under the public sector equality duty
  • Support schools to deliver effective careers education for all pupils
  • Support schools to deliver high-quality Religious Education to all pupils
  • Provide guidance, materials and information to support schools in educating pupils about environmental issues.

Ensure a valid and proportionate approach to statutory assessment in primary schools

  • Lobby the government to reconsider the introduction of the multiplication tables check
  • Lobby the government to ensure changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage and Early Learning Goals are appropriate and relevant for the early years sector
  • Influence the development and implementation of the reception baseline assessment
  • Support members to implement the new statutory assessment for pupils with SEND
  • Identify and challenge the STA over any impact on members of the contract change to deliver statutory assessment in the primary phase
  • Engage with the STA to influence changes and improvements to statutory assessment including moderation and maladministration
  • Campaign for KS2 SPAG to be made non-statutory and oppose any additional statutory testing in the primary phase

Ensure the KS4 and KS5 qualification framework and examination system is fit for purpose

  • Press the government, Ofqual and exam boards to ensure that reformed qualifications, both academic and vocational, meet the needs of all pupils and schools
  • Explore the issue of grade reliability, identifying solutions and improvements which are supported by members and pressing the government and Ofqual for appropriate action
  • Inform members of the latest developments in secondary assessment through engagement with Ofqual, JCQ and awarding organisations. 

Autumn exam series 2020

​Exam boards are offering students who were due to take an exam or assessment in summer 2020 but had these cancelled due to coronavirus, the opportunity to sit an exam or assessment in autumn 2020.

The dates for the 2020 autumn series are:

  • AS and A level exams: Monday 5 October to Friday 23 October
  • GCSE exams: Monday 2 November to Monday 23 November.

 The entry deadlines are:

  • AS and A level: Friday 4 September
  • GCSE (except English language and mathematics): Friday 18 September
  • GCSE (English language and mathematics): Saturday 4 October.

Public health guidance

The DfE has published guidance on the public health arrangements for autumn exams which can be found here. The guidance covers:

  • arrival and departure of candidates
  • set up of the exam room
  • cleaning
  • face covering
  • invigilators
  • distance between staff and candidates
  • engagement with NHS Track and Trace

DfE's exam support service

The Exam Support Service is a DfE programme for all schools, colleges and exam centres running an autumn exam series (including independent schools) and covers both general and vocational and technical qualifications. It will not cover the normal November maths and England language GCSE series.

Fee support

Schools and colleges will have to pay fees for all students whom they are entering for autumn exam series, even if these students are no longer on their roll. The DfE has now committed to funding any financial deficit caused by this.

Schools and colleges will receive a summer exam fees rebate from the awarding organisations. The DfE expects that this rebate will contribute towards the fees for the autumn exam series. However, if the rebate doesn't cover the autumn series entry fees, the Exam Support Service will provide funding to cover this deficit.

How can I claim this money?

  • Schools and colleges will be able to claim for any deficit later in the autumn term
  • They will be required to submit evidence of their autumn fees and of the summer fee rebates/credits notes received from awarding organisations.

Site support

The DfE has recognised that additional space may be required to run the autumn exam series. If additional space and sites are required, schools and colleges now have two options.

1. Use the government's fully-funded specialist venue supplier which can be booked online from the start of the autumn term.

  • Schools and colleges will still be responsible for overseeing the exams and assessments on these sites.

2. Book your own site(s) and claim the money from the DfE later in the autumn term alongside supporting evidence.

  • The DfE expects schools and colleges to seek value for money, for example by sourcing three quotes for venues.

Invigilation support

Schools and colleges will be able to book DBS checked invigilators through an approved supplier at the beginning of the autumn term. They will also be able to claim back a deficit if their autumn invigilator costs exceed invigilator savings from the summer.

The claims process opens later in the autumn term and we advised you to keep a record of exams administered as you may have to explain claims with high invigilator to student ratios.


Further information on the autumn series and the Exam Support Service can be found here.

First published 18 September 2020