Amid the continuing Coronavirus outbreak the Department for Education (DfE) have made a number of announcements, including introducing changes to the school admission appeals process.

Offers of primary school places were sent out on Thursday 16 April. Parents who have been refused a place for their child at their preferred school have the right to appeal, but previously such appeals have had to be heard in person and by a panel of three people. The changes, which will come into force on 24 April and apply until 31 January 2021, will allow appeal panels to be held remotely by telephone, video conference or via written representations. Panels will also be able to continue and conclude with just two members if one panel member is forced to withdraw. The deadline for appeals will be extended to 28 days from the current 20, and the new regulations will also apply to appeals which are already underway. Full details:

The DfE has also confirmed the dates that pupils will receive the results of their GCSEs and A-Levels. These are August 13 for A-Levels, and
August 20 for GCSEs – the same dates that results would have been published had exams been able to go ahead. However, this contradicted an
earlier government statement which had suggested the intention was to provide pupils with their calculated grades ‘before the end of July’. Schools
minister Nick Gibb said he hoped the confirmed August dates would provide ‘reassurance and clarity’.

Meanwhile exams regulator Ofqual has launched a consultation on various features of the exceptional arrangements for awarding GCSEs, AS and A Levels in 2020. Aspects being consulted on include how Ofqual should standardise grades, and how the appeals system should work. Views are also sought on whether exam boards should be required, rather than simply permitted, to offer exams for pupils to sit in the autumn. Full details of the consultation, closing on 29 April 2020, can be viewed here: 

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