KEIGHLEY College has postponed exams due to take place this month.

Principal Steve Kelly said the move was designed to ensure the safety of students and staff during the pandemic.

The Government announced that GCSE, A-level and AS summer exams had been cancelled – to be replaced with teacher-assessed grades.

But a decision on BTEC and other vocational qualification assessments was left with individual institutions.

Mr Kelly said: “Cancelling the January exams was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but we felt student and staff safety needed to be our top priority. The message from the Government was to ‘stay at home’ to defeat the virus, therefore for us to ask students to attend college and sit exams seemed untenable.

“To go ahead with the exam series now would be unfair on our hard-working students. The stress of the pandemic will undoubtedly affect their performance and probably has impacted on their preparation, potentially leading to unfair results.

“Although many are disappointed with the move back to remote learning, teachers and students are already well equipped to adapt to distance learning following the first lockdown. We’ve worked hard to enable learners to maintain their communities during these hard times, which makes a real difference to their mental wellbeing.

“We’re proud to be at the heart of the community and as we move through this challenging time, we want to be able to provide support the best we can while maintaining the safety of our students, apprentices and staff.”

BTEC and other vocational assessments will be rescheduled for later this year.

One Foundation Studies student, Bethan Jones, has praised the lockdown remote learning support from the college.

She said: “It has been brilliant. We all speak to each other daily on Google Hangouts, where we can talk through work and help each other.

“Our tutors are constantly checking in to see how we’re doing, which really helps with any feelings of isolation. We are set individual tasks which allow us to become more independent while improving valuable skills.”

Keighley College plans to have a mass Covid testing system in place for when students return after February half term.