Welcome to your teaching, learning and assessment page for the new 2021/2022 academic year for vocational qualifications. We’ve created this new page so we can keep you up to date with the latest news and information and support you as you deliver BTEC qualifications. 

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This page will be kept updated for academic year 2021/22, so please bookmark this page for the latest information, and sign up for our regular VQ Bulletins. 

Read our most recent VQ Bulletin

Information and guidance

We have created this infographic to guide you in managing absences, in relation to learners taking external assessments. 

Download managing absence in BTEC external assessments in 2021/22 academic year (PDF | 77.5 KB)

Updated 25 April 2022: We have updated our guidance relating to special considerations, alternative accommodation and examination invigilation, to extend to the May/June series, which you can find on the link below.

Download additional guidance for centres managing BTEC exams in 2022 (PDF | 520 KB)

Timetable variations: Further guidance on Timetable variations can be found here.

Contingency planning 2022 - updated 15 Dec 2021

The current policy position is that all assessments in 2021/22 will go ahead. We have been working closely with DfE, Ofqual and other regulators to ensure that contingency plans are in place if needed.

Please see our vocational bulletin - issue 32 for our latest update on contingency planning.

Read the vocational bulletin - issue 32

We will keep you updated with any decisions relating to this, and any additional guidance that is released to support centres, should it be deemed necessary to return to teacher assessed grades. 

All BTEC external assessments for 2021/22 are expected to go ahead. Although our main adaptation to BTEC assessment relates to internal assessment (see internal assessment section, below).

Timetables

You can find final timetables for January, February, March and summer 2022 on our timetables page.

Conducting external assessments

Our policies and guidance for conducting external assessments can be found in the BTEC Instructions for Conducting External Assessment (ICEA) document. Policies for the conduct of examinations and General Regulations, can be found on the JCQ website.

Further support on conducting our task-based assessments can be found in the individual unit’s Admistrative Support Guide (ASG). You can find these ASGs by selecting the External assessments button on the left of the Course Materials tab, found at the top of each qualification’s webpage. 

When you can expect to start receiving standard question papers:

  • For exams taking place 13/04 -06/05 - Materials were dispatched from 04/04
  • For exams taking place 09/05 - 07/06 - Materials will start to arrive in centres from 25/04
  • For exams taking place from 08/06 - Materials will start to arrive in centres from 17/05

The Yellow label service will be in place for the summer series for centres in England to return BTEC scripts, Attendance Registers and labels will start to arrive in centres from 27/04

Secure Download assessments can be accessed from our Secure Test space on our webpages here.

Please see our Exams Officer support pages for more information on conducting external assessments. 

On demand assessments

All on-demand external assessments for BTEC Level 2 Firsts and Technicals are available for booking via Edexcel online.

We updated centres in Issue 38 of the VQ Bulletin with information from Ofqual on the expected approaches to standards setting in 2022 and have created a guide for centres (PDF, 1.8 MB) which sets out how BTEC qualification grades will be awarded by Pearson in 2021/22.

In March 2022, Ofqual released a student guide to exams and formal assessments in 2021 to 2022 which explains what is in place to support learners in taking exams and assessments, as well as providing other information about this year’s arrangements.

We have also created guidance for students (PDF, 2.4 MB) should they have questions about Pearson’s approach, and we would be grateful if you could share this information with them.

For those wanting to see how this looks for BTEC Tech Awards, including what adaptations have been in place, and an example of how grades will aggregate this year, as we return to business as usual, the ‘Full Award Claim’ process please see:

How BTEC qualifications grades are awarded

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Overview of support packages in place for academic and vocational qualifications

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External Assessment Sector Overview

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Videos

examWizard is an online resource containing a huge bank of past paper questions and support materials to help you create your own mock exams and tests. Available for BTEC and Functional Skills, as well as a range of GCSE, A level subjects, it is easy to use, intuitive and saves you valuable time.

Learn how to use examWizard

Access examWizard

You can find approved adaptations to internal assessment below. Please note all content must still be taught.

We are pleased to confirm our approved updated adaptations of 'streamlined assessment' for the Level 3 BTEC Nationals, Level 2 BTEC Technicals and Level 1/2 BTEC Firsts, below. 

Streamlined internal assessment 2021/2022 (PDF | 1.31 MB)

List of vocational qualifications 2021/2022 (PDF | 2.04 MB)

Approved adaptations for the Level 1/2 Tech Awards can be found on the link below, to confirm, all adaptations have been carried over from 2020/21 to 2021/22 academic year for these qualifications.

BTEC Tech Awards: assessment adaptation guidance for 2021-2022 (PDF | 815 KB)

We've included below a series of sector guides designed to offer you guidance on how you might adapt delivery of BTEC qualifications from September 2021. These guides cover the following qualifications as well as additional sector-specific qualifications where appropriate:

  • BTEC Nationals
  • BTEC Firsts
  • BTEC Level 2 Technicals
  • BTEC Level 2 Industry Skills
  • BTEC Tech Awards
  • BTEC Entry Level and Level 1 Introductory
  • Workskills, PSD, Personal Growth and Wellbeing

Please choose from the list below to view or download your latest BTEC sector guide:

Sector Guides

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Childcare

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Please note: Any adaptations to assessment arrangements for 2021/2022 are not intended to be carried forward to 2022/2023. Schools and colleges should be preparing to deliver full assessment for those learners due to be assessed in 2023.

Special Consideration through the Summer 2022 exam series

Last updated: 17 May 2022

It is in the best interests of learners, centre staff and centres that wherever possible, learners’ complete assessments under the appropriate conditions within the normal centre environment. However, in every exam series, there are occasions where a learner is fully prepared to take the assessment but is unavoidably absent through illness or other exceptional circumstances. 

Where a learner is, for reasons outside of their control, unable to sit an assessment in the 2021/2022 academic year, the centre should first consider whether it is possible for the learner to enter for the assessment in the next available sitting. Where this is not possible, or would disadvantage the learner, the centre may apply for special consideration. If the application is accepted, affected learners would have the result for the affected assessment populated by Pearson at the point of certification, as this is when all unit grades have been submitted and quality assured, and a full award claim has been made. When submitting the application for special consideration the centre should explain why the learner was unable to sit the assessment and why entering for the assessment in 2022/2023 would disadvantage the learner.

As in any exam series, special consideration can also be applied in cases where a learner who has taken an assessment has been disadvantaged by the impact of illness, bereavement or other personal circumstance. In these cases, Pearson will review the information provided by the centre and, where appropriate, apply a small percentage uplift (this is called a tariff) to the mark awarded to the learner to reflect the potential disadvantage. Applications can only be accepted where sufficient evidence is provided. 

In 2021/2022 academic year, centres should apply for special consideration in the normal way where they believe that a learner’s performance in an assessment may have been adversely impacted by illness or other personal circumstance on the day of the assessment. The application should be supported by medical or other evidence where appropriate. Further information about the special consideration process can be found in the JCQ Guide to the Special Consideration Process

We understand that sitting formal assessments can be stressful for some learners, and that this anxiety may be heightened due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Performance in the assessment will be considered in the broader national context during the awarding process. Centres should only apply for special consideration on grounds of anxiety where individual learners have been adversely impacted on the day of the assessment as a result of their personal circumstances. Special consideration on grounds of anxiety is normally granted only where the learner is being treated for anxiety, either through medication or counselling, or where the anxiety is related to specific circumstances within the learner’s family or home environment.  

Candidates will be eligible for special consideration if they have been fully prepared and have covered the whole course but performance in the examination, or in the production of coursework or non-examination assessment, is materially affected by adverse circumstances beyond their control. Further information about eligibility can be found in the JCQ Guide to the Special Consideration Process.

Special consideration must be applied for within 7 days before or 7 days after the exam.  

After the publication of results, late applications will only be accepted in the most exceptional circumstances and must be submitted before the deadline for reviews of results for the respective examination series. A member of the senior leadership team must produce evidence to support a late application. An application for special consideration cannot be submitted after the completion of a review of results.