Early entry exams ruling | Pearson qualifications

Defining 'entry' for GCSE examinations and BTECs - for schools in England only

21 October 2013

Read on for an update on how the DfE ruling on early entry exams and school performance tables will affect centres offering GCSEs and BTECs. 

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On 29 September, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that only the grade from a student’s first entry to a GCSE examination will count in their school’s performance tables.

This new ruling comes into effect straight away and only applies to schools in England.

While the initial announcement only talked of this being applicable to GCSEs, a subsequent update on 4 October confirmed that BTECs are also in scope. You can find the full details of the announcement on the DfE website.

We have repeated the relevant section below:

“These changes apply to GCSEs, level 1/level 2 certificates (sometimes referred to as IGCSEs), BTECs and other qualifications, where those would ‘discount’ against GCSEs in performance tables. The first entry across the subject, regardless of qualification type, will be the one that counts.”

(Taken from DfE announcement “Changes of early entry to GCSE”, 29 September 2013, updated 4 October 2013)

Implications for BTEC Firsts

In order to understand how this applies to BTEC Firsts, we have sought clarification from the DfE on what is meant by an ‘entry’ for vocational qualifications, for which learners register at the start of the course, and that have a combination of internally and externally assessed units. It has been agreed that, for BTEC Firsts, we will set a date each year (for 2014 this is 5 July) which will be the BTEC Entry Date for that year. Any certification claim made during the academic year will – for the purposes of performance tables reporting – be deemed to have been made on that date.

This means that, where a learner achieves a BTEC and a GCSE result in the same subject in the same year, the GCSE result will always be taken as the result that counts for performance tables in that subject, since the BTEC entry date will always be later in the year than the GCSE exam. Both results will continue to count for the learner, as they do now.

For GCSEs, ‘entry’ refers to the date of the exam taken by the learner.

FAQs about Defining 'Entry' for GCSE examinations and BTECs (for schools in England)

FAQs for centres in England about school performance tables: BTEC and GCSE discounting and First Entry rules


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