Teacher assessed grades will be awarded to GCSE and A Level students this year, following the cancellation of exams.

Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, education secretary Gavin Williamson said last year's system 'did not deliver what was needed' and that this time he was going to put his 'trust in teachers rather than algorithms'.

Mr Williamson also confirmed schools would be required to provide three to five hours of online education per day, depending on the child's age.

He told MPs: “Last year, all four nations of the United Kingdom found their arrangements for awarding grades did not deliver what they needed, with the impact felt painfully by students and their parents.

“Although exams are the fairest way we have of assessing what a student knows, the impact of this pandemic now means that it is not possible to have these exams this year.

“I can confirm that GCSEs, A-levels and AS-level exams will not go ahead this summer. This year, we’re going to put our trust in teachers, rather than algorithms.

"The department and Ofqual had already worked up a range of contingency options.

“While the details will need to be fine-tuned in consultation with Ofqual, the exam boards and teaching representative organisations.

“I can confirm now that I wish to use a form of teacher-assessed grades with training and support provided to ensure these are awarded fairly and consistently across the country.

“I know students and staff have worked hard to prepare for the January exams and assessments of vocational and technical qualifications and we want to allow schools and colleges to continue with these assessments where they judge it is right to do so.

“No college should feel pressured to offer these and we will ensure all students are able to progress fairly.”

"Unwelcome though this lockdown is, we are far better placed to cope with it than we were last March.

"We are now better placed to deliver online learning."

The education secretary also confirmed Covid testing was at the centre of plans to get children back to school as soon as possible.

"I never wanted to be in a position where we had to close schools again.

"The moment that the virus permits, all our children will be back in school," he said.