Support and guidance for schools during COVID-19 (Accountability)


To provide information for schools about the way that accountability measures are different as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Cancellation of 2021 national curriculum assessments for primary schools

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that primary schools should move to remote provision (except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers) the Standard and Testing Agency (STA) have confirmed that, due to the further disruption caused by this change, key stage 1 (KS1) and key stage 2 (KS2) national curriculum assessments cannot continue as intended.  

The following assessments, scheduled between April and July 2021, have been cancelled:

  • KS1 teacher assessments
  • KS2 tests and teacher assessments
  • phonics screening check
  • all statutory trialling

Schools do not need to complete any further activities to prepare for these assessments. Local authorities will not need to undertake monitoring or moderation activities.

The STA strongly encourages schools to use past test papers in their assessment of pupils, to enable them to give information to parents on their child’s attainment in their statutory annual report. Also to support transition of KS2 pupils to secondary school.

These arrangements will apply for summer 2021 only. The STA are planning for a full programme of primary assessments to take place in the 2021-2022 academic year. This will include the introduction of the statutory reception baseline assessment and multiplication tables check, as previously announced. Full details for 2021-2022 Primary assessments will be confirmed in due course.

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Early years foundation stage profile

Arrangements for the early years foundation stage (EYFS) profile in 2021 will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Secondary exams

Along with Primary assessments, GCSE and A Levels have also been cancelled for summer 2021.

The DfE has concluded a consultation to determine how GCSE, AS and A level grades will be awarded. They have also concluded their consultation into alternative arrangements for VTQs and other general qualifications. Details of the consultation outcomes can be found in:

We understand that exam boards will provide detailed guidance before the end of the spring term to support teachers in making their judgements.  

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School accountability 2021

The DfE have now published their changed approach to accountability data in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. You can find this in Coronavirus (COVID-19): school and college performance measures.

One of the documents in the suite of guidance explains how school and college accountability will now operate: guidance to explain how school and college accountability will operate in 2020 to 2021.

School Performance Tables will not be published in 2021. Qualifications achieved in 2020 and 2021 will not count towards performance measures in future years.

Organisations that work with schools and colleges (for example Ofsted, DfE regional teams and local authorities) should use data from previous years as a starting point for discussions when considering performance. They should not use 2020 or 2021 results data for this purpose.

There’s also more information on how RSCs will make decisions during the 2020-2021 academic year. RSCs will make decisions during the 2021-2022 academic year in a broadly similar way, more details to follow in due course.

Explore Education Statistics (EES)

A new statistics website has been launched called Explore Education Statistics (EES).  Over the next year, EES will operate in parallel with existing statistics pages on GOV.UK as publications are moved to the new platform.

  • For DfE guidance about statistics please visit
  • For DfE guidance about school accountability please visit

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Last Updated: 5 March 2021