Learner update: No BTEC external assessments to take place in February or March this year

13 January 2021

No decisions on summer exams yet

11:30am

Dear BTEC Learners,

I appreciate the last week will have been extremely challenging as you tried to understand the implications of the DfE and Ofqual guidance on the vocational exams you were due to sit this January.  We know that for some of you it will have meant your school or college deciding exams would take place, while for others they were cancelled. We want you to know that since this guidance was issued, we have been consulting very closely with DfE and Ofqual to determine the safest and fairest route forward for you, whatever decision your college or school made.

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DfE update: No BTEC external assessments to take place in February or March this year 

As you may have heard, the DfE has announced today that scheduled assessments vocational qualifications, will not take place in February and March. For students taking Pearson qualifications, this means that external assessments for BTEC Level 2 Tech Awards, Firsts, Technicals and Level 3 Nationals will not go ahead in February or March. 

While we welcome this decision, which aligns to the position for General Qualifications, and puts your safety first, we know that many of you will be disappointed, as you have been studying hard believing you would be able to take the assessments.

We want to reassure you that we will put arrangements in place for those of you who are now unable to take your external assessments to ensure you are not disadvantaged, so that those of you expecting to complete your qualification this year will be able to progress. We understand that Ofqual will consult on arrangements for issuing grades this year for regulated Vocational and Technical Qualifications this year, as well as arrangements for exams due to take place in June, and will launch this consultation towards the end of this week.  We will be able to give you more detail about grading once this consultation is complete.

In relation to external assessments which are scheduled 'on-demand' for qualifications including Functional Skills, Specialist Tests and EPA, we understand that these can continue to go ahead where the Public Health guidance permits this. We will keep you updated as we find out more.

For students taking assessments in January current guidance still stands

For those students who are due to sit exams that are part of the January series, we can confirm that the DfE and Ofqual guidance for the continuation of the January vocational assessments, if deemed right to do so by individual centres, still stands from last week.

We want to ensure you are supported by us regardless of the choice your college or school has made on whether exams take place.  Where a college or school decides to offer exams, you will be able to sit external assessments as planned and if a school or college decides not to offer vocational exams, we have agreed the following with Ofqual and the DfE to ensure that no learner is disadvantaged:

  • We will award a grade for any learner who is unable to take their exams and has enough evidence to receive a certificate that they need for progression.
  • For learners unable to take their assessment this January, we will put in place arrangements to ensure they can receive a grade.

We are working closely with the DfE and Ofqual on all of this and we will share more detail with you in the coming days.

We appreciate this must be a very difficult time for you and hope that this update provides you with some clarity and reassurance that you will not be disadvantaged, regardless of the decision made by your school or college regarding exams.

We will update you with further information soon. Thank you for your continued patience during these unprecedented times.

Best wishes,

Cindy Rampersaud
Senior Vice President
BTEC and Apprenticeships

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