We have put together some questions and answers that we hope will help support you as you deliver BTEC qualifications during 2021/22.

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Mid-flight learners, Z-flags and U-TAGs

Mid-flight’ refers to a learner that is part way through their studies and is not intending to certificate in that academic year. Guidance for learners who were ‘mid-flight’ in 2020/21 meant that they were not eligible for qualification-level teacher assessed grades (Q-TAGs). As these learners are now in the final year of their qualification, there are some steps to follow to ensure they can certificate at the end of their course, as we return to the normal eligibility process of using unit grades.

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details.

Yes, this is possible for your mid-flight learners as they are yet to be certificated. Please note, to enable the quality assurance (QA) process to take place, the Z-flag functionality will only be available for a limited period of time on Edexcel Online. If you need to update last year's Z grades to interim claims, where you have evidence of completed assessment, please do this as soon as possible and before the final deadline of 10 November 2021.

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details.

Edexcel Online will allow you to change the grade if the interim claim was used for mid-flight learners only. The deadline to complete this is 10 November 2021. This option does not apply to those learners who certificated in 2020/21.

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details.

If a learner was entered in any session during 2020/21 (i.e. January, February, March, summer) or for an on-demand unit, and the assessment did not take place, either due to exams being cancelled or the learner being unable to take the assessment, the entry is now marked as absent.

For any external assessment entry marked as absent in 2021, centres are required to submit a U-TAG by 10 November 2021.  A spreadsheet will be sent to centres in mid-October for the collation of these units, and these U-TAGs will then go through a QA process.  We will confirm to centres if the grades have been accepted in January 2022.

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details.

The Q-TAG judgement is final, and can only be challenged via the appeals process (PDF | 316KB). A learner that has been awarded a Q-TAG grade is entitled to decline a grade, return their certificate and re-sit relevant units to improve their grade. However, this course of action is reliant on a number of factors: 

  • Does the learner have resit attempts available for the external assessment? 

  • Does the learner have any banked units, or do they need to attempt them all? If units were not banked for the Q-TAG, the centre will need to put forward U-TAGs (in the same way they would if the learner were mid-flight) for all units due to be taken (but which were not assessed) using the Z-flag function. The Vocational and technical qualifications contingency regulatory framework (VCRF) applies to all assessments due to take place between 1 August 2020 – 31 August 2021. In addition, the centre will need to claim any unit grades that were assessed. All internally assessed units completed in the last academic year will need to be claimed under the U-TAG process by 10 November 2021.

  • Does the learner have enough time before the certificate end date?

If an exam entry for externally assessed units was not made for the previous series due to the Q-TAG process, please contact Customer Services via our Support Portal and provide the following details:  

  • Learner registration number

  • First name and Surname

  • Programme code 

  • Programme title

  • Unit code

  • Unit title

  • Assessment plans (identifying that the learner was due to be assessed)  

  • Explanation as to why the entry was not made 

  • In some circumstances where the learner would have been entered for a resit, a fee may apply. Guidance (PDF | 74KB) was provided to centres to ensure that examination entries reflected whether assessment was due for learners in 2020/21

These requests will be reviewed, and an outcome will usually be provided within 48 hours. Late Entry requests must be made as soon as possible and no later than 15 October 2021.

Guidance was provided to centres to ensure that examination entries reflected whether assessment was due for learners in 2020/21. Therefore, we do not expect any late entries to be required.

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details on ‘mid-flight’ learners.

Yes. If the learner is unhappy with the U-TAG you have provided them with, there will be an Appeals process in place. Further information on Appeals for U-TAGs will follow in the coming weeks.

Internal Assessment in 2021/22

For all information relating to approved adaptations to internal assessment please see our website.

Centres should plan to take all assessments in 2021/22 academic year as required.  The option to streamline the number of assessments (indicated in our Streamlined Assessments guidance (PDF | 1.3MB)) is at the centre’s discretion, following reflection on the continued impact of the disruption caused by the pandemic on the learners. 

It is acceptable to have streamlined units in 2021/22 and reduced assessment units in 2020/21. However, streamlined assessment should be used as per our guidance and guiding principles listed, and for units taken between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022, whereas reduced assessments was a mitigation used for units planned to be taken during 1 August 2020 - 31 August 2021.

Yes, it is possible for individual learners within a cohort to make use of streamlined assessment through different units, as best fits their individual circumstances.

Please refer to our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) on Streamlined Assessments for 2021/22

Standards Verification

We are currently working on the requirements for standards verification this year and will issue guidance shortly.

Yes, Lead IVs must register each year to inform us they are still in role and to access materials to undertake annual standardisation with their assessment teams. There is however no requirement to undertake an accreditation test as they may have done in previous years some time ago.

External Assessment in 2021/22

All BTEC external assessments for 2021/22 are expected to go ahead.

Final timetables for Jan, Feb and March 2022 are now up on the website, included in the BTEC External Assessment Overview document, available on the following webpages:

Yes, all on-demand external assessment tests are available for booking from 1 September 2021.

We will be releasing provisional summer 2022 timetables for centre feedback shortly and we will communicate with you once this is available.

All BTEC external assessments for 2021/22 are expected to go ahead.

In light of feedback from centres, the January and February series will commence one week later than initially shared.

Series Start Date Results Day
January 2022 12 January 2022 23 March 2022
February 2022 7 February 2022 6 April 2022

Final timetables for January, February and March 2022 are now on our website and included in the BTEC External Assessment Overview document, which are available on the Exams Officers and Exam Timetables pages.

For external assessments in the BTEC Nationals (RQF) and L1/L2 Tech Awards, a single notional point score will need to be awarded for all learners that achieve the same grade.

The notional points score that we will use for the BTEC Nationals (RQF) and L1/L2 Tech Awards external assessment units for the summer 2021 series are shown in the tables below.

BTEC Nationals

  Points June 2021
Grade 90 GLH 120 GLH
D 24 32
M 19 26
P 12 16
N 7 10 
U 0 0
BTEC Tech Awards 
Grade  Points June 2021 
L2 D  45 
L2 M  39 
L2 P  33 
L1 D  27 
L1 M  21 
L1 P  15 

Please see our full guidance (PDF | 401KB) for further details.


Revised certificate print dates for B1 qualifications awarded the ‘Q-TAG’ process during summer 2021 are outlined in the table below. These dates only apply where an appeal has not been logged for a learner.

Centre type Certificate print date Expected in-centre date Latest in-centre date
International 3 September 2021 24 September 2021 7 November 2021
UK 15 September 2021 6 October 2021 7 November 2021

As per our previous guidance, learners completing B1 qualifications in summer 2021 will only be issued with certificates, and not Notifications of Performance (NOPs).