Update following Ofqual announcement on the awarding of vocational and technical qualifications in Summer 2020

9 April 2020

I’d like to share an update with you, as following close discussions with the Department for Education, awarding bodies and other stakeholders, Ofqual has today announced further information about how some vocational and technical qualifications will be awarded in 2020.

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BTEC Nationals, Firsts, Tech Awards and Technicals

Ofqual recognises that BTEC qualifications offer learners similar progression opportunities as level 2 and 3 General Qualifications (GCSEs and A levels) and therefore, the approach that will be taken with these qualifications is similar to the one being used for General Qualifications.  We are waiting for a confirmed list of qualifications included within this category but in the meantime we are able to advise that we anticipate calculating results for BTEC Nationals, Firsts, Tech Awards and Technicals.

We expect the approach will involve input from teachers and tutors, at qualification and unit level, to contribute to a calculated result and we will follow up with teachers and tutors to capture this information when we have more information and guidance from Ofqual. In the meantime, please refer to today’s published advice from Ofqual for more information.

Higher Nationals

We recognise that some providers around the UK are continuing their Higher National delivery online and are continuing to teach and assess where they can. As such, in some situations it will be possible for certification to continue through remote sampling by our External Examiners. Where there are units or learning outcomes that are unsuitable for online delivery, advice and guidance will be provided regarding ways to adjust assessments or how to select suitable alternative units. If it is not possible for assessment to continue using the above approaches, we will ask tutors to calculate grades using their professional judgment and supporting evidence. We will make guidance available to centres on the process to follow in terms of grade calculation.  

Functional Skills 

We are now able to confirm that learners due to complete their Functional Skills assessment(s) between March and July 2020, will not be expected to undertake their assessment(s). Instead, we will issue a calculated grade based on a range of evidence and data, which will involve centre and teacher input. We will be in touch with you shortly to advise you on the process for this and for claiming certification for impacted learners. In the meantime, please refer to today’s published advice from Ofqual for more information.

Apprenticeships Licence to Practise and competency based qualifications

We are working closely with Ofqual and the iFATE on how apprenticeships and other vocational and technical qualifications will be assessed and awarded, including arrangements for the adaptation of assessments where appropriate. We will update you when we have more information and guidance from Ofqual. In the meantime, please refer to our detailed operational guidance on how to continue to deliver apprenticeships following the recent update from the iFATE.

Support and resources offer

I am sure you will have many questions and we have a Q&A section with more details on what the Ofqual decisions mean for you and your learners. We recognise you need further advice and guidance and we are working closely with Ofqual to provide this to you as soon as possible.

We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to best support you and your learners at this time. Our website is updated daily with the latest news, advice and guidance and our free online resource offers to enable learning to continue for the rest of the academic year. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our FE centre support team on 0845 373 0114 or at fecentresupport@pearson.com

Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time. We will continue to keep you updated.

Best wishes,

Cindy Rampersaud
Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships


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