future ofqual head explains views on the future GCSE

Jo Saxton, the Gov. first choice for head of Ofqual has hinted that she would prefer 2022 exam pupils to receive advance notice of topics in their GCSE and A Level exams rather than modified papers.

Dr Saxton, a former academy chief executive, said she would be "personally very interested" in how advance notice of topics could be used – but raised concerns over the use of modified papers.

Modified papers, had been considered as a means of addressing learning losses from the 2021 exams and their subsequent cancellation.

Asked by Jonathan Gullis, Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent North about his concerns over "tweaking" exams for the 2022 cohort, Dr Saxton said: "Obviously I can't speak about government policy and I know that the secretary of state is working very hard to make sure school leaders have the certainty they need and young people, too, moving forward into the new academic year.".

Caution over moving to single exam board

Dr Saxton said: "In terms of a single exam board, as chief regulator my job would be to make sure when government made a decision, if they made such a decision, that they were aware of the pros and cons. Here is our piece on the difference between each exam board.

"And I know from my regulatory studies that there are lots of arguments against monopolies. Equally there are arguments for. And I think, as chief regulator, it would be my job to present those arguments.

"I think my main caution around it would be just to make sure that we thought through how to avoid any single point of failure if there was a monopoly arrangement," she added.

Asked about whether schools and colleges should pay full exam fees this year to boards, she said: "The chief executives of the awarding organisations have all been clear - none of them intends to profit from the pandemic," adding that the boards had committed to giving rebates.

Computer based assessment could be used for GCSE maths and English resits

Dr Saxton said: "I specifically talked about English and maths GCSE as an example where I'd like to see more disadvantaged young passing.".

We believe that a good chunk of GCSEs should be scrapped

While it is important to look at the role of digital technologies in improving marking reliability, for example.

"So I would be interested in exploring, for example, could digital technologies have a role to play in something like GCSE English and maths? Perhaps, for example, in the resit versions where we see too many young people don't attend, have lost interest in the content and where it could be much more interactive, where technology would allow them to reteach elements."

We fully endorse the use of computer based exams for most exams. Especially GCSES.