End-of-year GCSE, AS and A-level exams for 2021 will be cancelled in Wales, the BBC reports.

Grades will instead be decided on externally-set and marked classroom assessments, said Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams.

She said the decision had been made because it was impossible to ensure "a level playing field" for exams because of on-going Covid disruption.

She added cancelling exams would also give time for teaching to continue through the summer term.

Teachers will have some flexibility over when the students take the assessments.

Ms Williams said: "The well-being of learners and ensuring fairness across the system is central in our decision making process.

"We remain optimistic that the public health situation will improve, but the primary reason for my decision is down to fairness; the time learners will spend in schools and colleges will vary hugely and, in this situation, it is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.

"We have consulted with universities across the UK and they have confirmed that they are used to accepting many different types of qualifications."

But Ruth Davies, the president of headteachers’ union NAHT Cymru, said she was concerned that GCSEs, AS-levels and A-levels were being cancelled in Wales “in name only”.

She said: “We welcome the acknowledgement that things need to be different in 2021, but there is a real concern that we will end up with exams by stealth."

In England, the 2021 end-of-year exams have been delayed by three weeks to allow for more teaching time, and with reduced content in some subjects.

The Government said it had no plans to cancel exams in England following the Welsh decision.

In Scotland, the National 5 exams have been cancelled and replaced with coursework and teacher assessment, but Higher and Advanced Higher exams will be delayed by two weeks only.