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IGCSE exams to go ahead in Bermuda

Testing times: most school exams will go ahead this summer (Photograph supplied)

Schoolchildren will be able to sit most of their exams this summer – even though tests have been cancelled in the UK because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Public and private school students on the island sit exams set by UK examination boards.

GCSEs for Year 11 pupils have been scrapped for a second year in England, but Bermuda’s schoolchildren sit an international version of the qualification – the IGCSE – which will go ahead this year.

Cambridge Assessment International Education, the exam board that sets the IGCSE paper, pulled the plug on exams last year – but insisted that they will go ahead this year.

A spokesman for the organisation said: “We continue to prepare for the March and June series to go ahead. We believe that schools in most countries outside the UK, will want to proceed with exams as planned.

“We will continue to monitor the situation for the March and June 2021 series very closely and keep our schools informed, but we expect exams to continue as planned where it is permitted and safe.

“Our priority continues to be to keep students safe and to make sure they can progress with their education.”

A Levels – university entrance standard – have also been cancelled in England, but students in Bermuda sit either the US Scholastic Assessment Test or the International Baccalaureate.

Linda Parker, head of Bermuda High School, confirmed that pupils will take exams this year.

Ms Parker said: “At BHS, the majority of our GCSE subjects are taken as International GCSEs, thus, IGCSEs.

“The Cambridge and Edexcel exam boards provide exams in many countries. While the June 2020 exams were cancelled worldwide, both boards have allowed IGCSE exams to run in countries outside the UK for the November and January sessions – with appropriate Covid-19 regulations in place.

“As of this morning, all June 2021 exams were still scheduled to take place in Bermuda. We must await further communication from the exam boards regarding any cancellations and whatever alternative assessment processes they put in place. I anticipate that this would require extensive consultation.

David Horan, principal of Warwick Academy, agreed.

He said: “We sit predominately IGCSEs – the international version – and not many GCSEs, which is the UK version.

“The Boards offering the IGCSEs are going ahead with written examinations at the moment. It is only the UK-based GCSEs that have been cancelled at this point in time.

“Also, we don't do A Levels so this does not affect us. The International Baccalaureate Organisation is going ahead with examinations in jurisdictions where they can be written.

“Time will tell how it all plays out.”

The Royal Gazette contacted the Ministry of Education to ask about exams in public schools, but no response was received by press time last night.

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Published January 13, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 13, 2021 at 7:58 am)

IGCSE exams to go ahead in Bermuda

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