Exam News

Summer 2021 - Updates

14 July 2021

Proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022 – consultation open

A joint consultation published by Ofqual and the Department for Education on proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022 has opened.

The consultation proposes a package of measures to help mitigate the impact of disruption to students’ education, and seeks views on proposals on the following areas:

  • choice of topics in GCSE English literature, history, ancient history and choice of content in GCSE geography
  • changes to the requirements for the delivery of practical activities in science subjects, and assessment in art and design
  • the provision of advance information on the focus of the content of exams, in the majority of subjects at GCSE, AS and A level
  • the provision of support materials in GCSE mathematics, physics and combined science exams.

Full details of the consultation can be found here.

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 1 August 2021.

You can submit your views here.


12 July 2021

Arrangements for the assessment and awarding of vocational, technical and other general qualifications: 2021 to 2022 ​– consultation open

In this joint consultation Ofqual and the Department for Education set out the arrangements for assessing and awarding vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) and other general qualifications in the academic year 2021 to 2022.  These proposals are made in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has resulted in disruption to education during the current (2020 to 2021) and previous (2019 to 2020) academic years.

Full details of the consultation can be found here.

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 26 July 2021.

You can submit your views here.


16 June 2021

Arrangements for non-exam assessment for qualifications in 2022 - consultation outcome

Ofqual have decided to implement all of the proposals they set out in the consultation document. In summary, these decisions mean that for summer 2022 they will regulate to put in place the changes set out below:

Non-exam assessment

Ofqual will allow for a range of adjustments to the non-exam assessment (NEA) arrangements to accommodate public health restrictions in dance, design and technology, drama (and theatre), film studies, food preparation and nutrition, media studies, music, music technology, and physical education (PE).

Fieldwork in geography

Ofqual will remove the requirement for centres to make a declaration to exam boards confirming they provided all students with the opportunity to undertake a mandated number of occasions or days of fieldwork activities outside of the school or college premises for GCSE, AS and A level geography.

For GCSE and AS geography, the exam boards will not ask questions in written examinations about fieldwork that students have undertaken themselves.  Of course, schools and colleges can continue to provide fieldwork activities for their students if they are able to do so.

GCSE English language

Ofqual will remove the requirement for teachers to submit an audio-visual recording of a sample of students undertaking their spoken language assessments in GCSE English language.

GCSE modern foreign languages

Exam boards will not have to include vocabulary that is not on the vocabulary lists for assessments in GCSE modern foreign languages (MFL).

Teachers and students should prepare for spoken language in 2022 to be assessed in the normal way, through formal speaking tests.  If, at any point before the speaking tests begin, it becomes clear they cannot or should not be taken, Ofqual will implement the contingency arrangements.


14 May

2022 non-exam assessment and fieldwork requirements consultation

Ofqual is consulting on arrangements for non-exam assessment (NEA) and fieldwork requirements for some GCSE, AS and A level qualifications in 2022.

This consultation focuses on the subjects for which preparation and work for non-exam assessment and fieldwork activities will be taking place this term for students who will be taking their exams in 2022. It covers:

  • non-exam assessments in dance, design and technology, drama (and theatre), film studies, food preparation and nutrition, media studies, music, music technology, and physical education
  • fieldwork activities in geography, geology and environmental science
  • assessment of speaking skills in GCSE modern foreign language (MFL) qualifications
  • assessment of spoken language in GCSE English language

Ofqual are seeking views on their proposal that they largely carry forward to the next academic year the flexibilities and adaptations they put in place in these subjects.

Full details of the consultation can be found on the gov.uk website.

You can submit your views online here.  The deadline to respond is 11:45pm on 28 May 2021.


4 May 2021

Outcome on autumn series consultation – Ofqual confirms autumn assessment arrangements

Decisions following the consultation on arrangements for an autumn 2021 exam series in response to the cancellation of exams in summer 2021 have been made.  Ofqual have decided that:

  • Any student who receives a teacher-assessed grade (TAG) this summer, or who an exam board reasonably believes would have entered for the exams in summer 2021 had they taken place, can take the corresponding GCSE exams in autumn 2021.
  • Exam boards will be required to offer exams in all GCSE subjects.
  • An exam board will not have to offer exams in any subject for which it has received no entries by the entry deadline.
  • The exams will be in their normal format, with no adaptations being made.
  • Except for art and design qualifications, grades will be determined by students’ performance in the exams only – there will be no non-exam assessments.
  • For art and design qualifications, grades will be determined by students’ performance in a task set and marked by the exam board.
  • GCSE exams will be held in November and December.
  • The usual arrangements for appeals and reviews of marking will apply to the exam series.
  • An exam board must issue a replacement certificate to a student showing the higher of an autumn 2021 or summer 2021 grade in response to a request from that student.

Full details of the consultation outcomes can be found on the gov.uk website here.


21 April 2021

Consultation on reviews and appeals for summer 2021

Ofqual is seeking views on the proposed guidance as part of the General Qualifications Alternative Awarding (GQAA) regulatory framework.

The proposed guidance relates to arrangements for reviews and appeals and covers:

·       the learner’s right to a review and appeal

·       grounds of appeal

·       procedural and administrative errors

·       academic judgement

·       correcting results

The full details of the consultation can be found here.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 5 May 2021.

You are encouraged to submit your views, you can submit your responses here.


17 March 2021

Consultation on autumn series 2021

Ofqual is seeking views on how an autumn exam series for GCSEs, AS and A levels should run this year, in a consultation that can be found here

It outlines proposals for an additional exam series in autumn 2021 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and welcomes the views of students, parents and carers.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 9 April 2021

You can respond online here.


25 February 2021

Department for Education and Ofqual release two consultations

As you will know the decisions following the Department for Education and Ofqual consultations on how students’ grades are to be determined were released this week.

On the back of this they have now launched two new consultations, for both GCSE (AS and A Levels), and for Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs).  

For the GCSE consultation, this is to set a framework of conditions and requirements to require awarding organisations to deliver and award qualifications in accordance with the latest policy decisions.

For the VTQ's this is for a new regulatory framework. This will be called the VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF). 

Students, parents and carers are encouraged to submit their views.  Details can be found at:

Technical consultation on Conditions and Requirements for GCSE, GCE, AEA and Project qualifications in summer 2021.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 11 March 2021

Responses can be submitted here.

Consultation on the detail of the VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 11 March 2021

Responses can be submitted here.

25 February 2021

Guidance on awarding qualifications in summer 2021

What schools, colleges and students need to know about the arrangements for awarding GCSEs, AS and A levels, VTQs and other qualifications in summer 2021.

Full guidance details are here at gov.uk.

25 February 2021

Simon Lebus, Chief Regulator, responds to Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education, regarding exams and other assessments in 2021.

Simon Lebus responds to the Secretary of State’s direction of 23 February 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

25 February 2021

Direction from the Secretary of State for Education to Ofqual's Chief Regulator about how GCSE, AS, A level and vocational and technical qualifications should be awarded in 2021.

Letter from Gavin Williamson to Simon Lebus:

Direction issued to Ofqual - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

25 February 2021

CONSULTATION DECISIONS - Decisions on how GCSE, Vocational, Technical and other qualification grades will be determined in summer 2021 released

The consultation decisions have been released, and the full details can be found via the following links:

GCSE

Vocational and Technic Qualifications

The infographics below provide an overview of how your grades will be determined, what evidence will be used and information about results.


The examination boards will now be working hard to provide the detailed support and guidance we as a centre now require, so that the process of determining student grades is clear and manageable.  They will also be aiming to provide information to you as students, parents and carers, and we will post details here as it becomes available, so that you are kept as informed as possible.


29 January 2021

Ofqual release their blog; ‘Consultation update and a proposal for externally-set papers’.

On the final day of the consultation, Ofqual explained that over 90,000 responses had already been received and that several themes were emerging.  They went on to explain their thinking behind the proposal to have externally-set papers or tasks to help teachers to assess their students objectively.

You can read the blog here.


15 January 2021

Ofqual and the Department for Education have opened joint consultations on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021, and alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other general qualifications in 2021:

Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021

Ofqual and the Department for Education have opened a joint consultation on the approach to awarding GCSE, AS and A level grades in 2021 following the cancellation of exams.  They want to hear the views of students who were due to take their exams, their parents and carers, their teachers, school and college leaders and others who have an interest.  The consultation covers general and vocational qualifications, with this document focusing on the former.

Details on the consultation can be found here.  You can respond online here.

Consultation on alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other general qualifications in 2021

Ofqual and the Department for Education have opened a joint consultation on the approach to awarding vocational and technical grades in 2021 following the cancellation of exams.  They want to hear the views of students who were due to take their exams, their parents and carers, their teachers, school and college leaders and others who have an interest.  The consultation covers general and vocational qualifications, with this document focusing on the latter.

Details on the consultation can be found here.  You can respond online here.

Both consultations close at 11:45pm on 29 January 2021.


13 January 2021

Simon Lebus, Chief Regulator responds to Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education regarding assessment options for qualifications in 2021.

The letter can be accessed here at gov.uk.

13 January 2021

The Secretary of State for Education writes to Ofqual’s Chief Regulator outlining the process to agree alternative arrangements for exams in 2021.

The letter can be accessed here at gov.uk.


6 January 2021

Simon Lebus, Interim Chief Regulator, responds to the Prime Minister's announcement of 4 January.  Here is the message from Simon Lebus on exams in 2021.

6 January 2021

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson confirmed that:

  • All GCSE, AS and A Level exams in summer 2021 are cancelled
  • Students will instead receive grades based on a form of teacher assessment
  • Training and support will be provided to teachers to ensure teacher-assessed grades ‘are awarded fairly and consistently across the country’
  • Details will need to be fine-tuned in collaboration with Ofqual, the exam boards and teaching organisations
  • Ofqual will launch a 14-day consultation next week to get feedback from the sector
  • Results may be issued early to allow more time for appeals, resits and university admissions.

Exam boards are continuing to work with the DfE and Ofqual to provide more clarity and will update us as soon as they are able to.

The full details of the Education Secretary’s statement are at www.gov.uk.

4 January 2021

Boris Johnson announces national lockdown and confirms that this will mean it is not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer as normal. The Education Secretary will work with Ofqual to put in place alternative arrangements.

Full details of the prime ministers speech are at www.gov.uk.

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