General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 12 | Pearson qualifications

General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 12

23 June 2021

Dear Colleague,

Firstly, on this Thank a Teacher Day, more than any other, I want to offer a huge thank you to everyone that has worked so hard to keep centres open throughout the pandemic and to everyone that has been involved in submitting teacher assessed grades and Stage 3 evidence submissions. We have passed some key milestones within the last few weeks that we would not have been able to meet without the dedication of so many.

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It has been a monumental effort to submit over two million grades to us that we will now quality assure. I know there have been some tight deadlines for everyone to work to, but your unwavering effort and support will mean that learners are able to progress with their next steps.  
Some of you may be submitting the final pieces of evidence as part of the Stage 3 quality assurance checks and thank you to those of you who have already sent it through to us. You have 48 hours from when you received the email to submit this to us. If you are experiencing any problems or have any questions then please reach out to us and we are here to help. 
Over the course of the next few weeks I know many of you will be focused on results day and being prepared for that. Please make sure you have read the JCQ Appeals Guidance (PDF, 0.7 MB) and have shared everything that you can in advance with learners. Please remember that grades must stay confidential until results day. If you notice that you have learners that you thought should have had entries, should have been withdrawn or notice errors in the grades you submitted to us then please reach out to use as soon as possible. We will then work with you to support the resolution of any issues.
And lastly, I know that some of you are beginning to ask about assessments in October and November and 2022. We can confirm that any amendments to assessments that were planned for 2021 will also apply to all UK and International Qualifications in the October and November series. For assessments in 2022 we are unable to confirm arrangements.   
At present, the DfE and Ofqual have not yet confirmed arrangements about the format of assessments in summer 2022 for GCSE, AS and A level. Any decision is likely to be preceded by a consultation.  Ofqual has finished consulting on arrangements for non-examined assessments in 2022. The consultation was on subjects with practical elements. The outcomes can be found on the Ofqual website.  

I know there is a lot of hard work still to complete, but as always, we are here to support you every step of the way. Please continue to visit our dedicated support page and follow us on Twitter. If you would to speak to us directly, you can get in touch with any questions via our contact form, or by calling the relevant team for your role.
As always, thank you for all your hard work. 
Hayley White  
Assessment Director

By now you should have received a notification from the Awarding Organisations that will be sampling the evidence used to determine the teacher assessed grades. We are reviewing all grades as part of the quality assurance processes. If you think you have not heard from us but would have expected to or have any questions still about the process, then please reach out to us immediately.  

  • one A level subject (at least five students) 
  • two GCSE subjects, one of which is likely to be either English language or maths (at least five students for each ).

Centres that offer only A levels or only GCSEs will be asked to submit only work for those qualifications. In some rare instances this could mean that two awarding organisations have contacted you. Centres will be told which Awarding Organisation they need to submit to, as the upload process may vary slightly across boards.  

We have sent all of our sample request emails. If you have not heard from us, this means you will not be sampled by us and will be sampled by another Awarding Organisation. 

The selected sample for your centre will have been communicated via email from 21 June and needs to be submitted within 48 hours. We understand the pressure this places on centres and want to make sure that the process is as quick and efficient as possible, so we will be asking that evidence is provided in a digital format. The guide about how this can be submitted to Awarding Organisations can be found on this JCQ guidance document (PDF, 1.8 MB).

On 8 June Ofqual and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) published their guidance for appeals in 2021. These are important documents that outline the processes that will be in place for this summer’s appeals process.   

Ofqual Statutory guidance: appeals under the GQAA regulatory frameworK (PDF, 0.3 MB) 

JCQ A guide to appeals processes Summer 2021 serieS (PDF, 1.8 MB) 

You might find it helpful to start with the introduction for Heads of centre and senior leaders, at the start of the JCQ document, which highlights some activities which could be completed before the end of term to help reduce the number of appeals and to help ensure the appeals process runs smoothly.

  • Apprendix F contains a checklist of actions (PDF, 0.1 MB) which centres might wish to use to help reduce the number of appeals on results day. 
  • Appendix C contains a list of the evidence (PDF, 0.1 MB) which Awarding Organisations will need in the event of an appeal, and which centres might want to review now to ensure that all the documentation that will be needed is readily available.

You can also take a look at our overview video on the appeals process for this summer.

Further information can be found on our Appeals summer 2021 web page, including information on the appeals process and guidance for our international qualifications. 

The timeline for UK qualifications is updated regularly on our website and can be found in our most recent 2021 Key dates and deadlines document (PDF, 0.1 MB). Upcoming dates of note are as follows.

June 21-24 2021 | Submission of sample evidence to Awarding Organisations - 48hrs after email has been sent.

June 24 - July 16 2021 | Quality Assurance sample checks take place. Any supplementary evidence will be asked for.

This summer, for the first time, both Level 1/2 and Level 3 qualifications will have results issued in the same week.  

9 August 2021 – Level 3 results released to centres  

10 August 2021 – Level 3 Qualifications (AS/A level, International AS/A level and any other associated level 3 qualifications)  

11 August 2021– Level 1/2 results released to entres  

12 August 2021 – Level 1/2 Qualifications (GCSE, International GCSE and any other associated level 1/2 qualifications) 

The provisional timetables for UK GCSE and A level qualifications and our International AS/A Level and International GCSE qualifications in October and November can now be found on our Timetables web page. These are subject to consultation and we will let you know when the final timetables are completed. Time has now elapsed to leave your feedback.  

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) have also published their Key dates document for the exceptional Autumn series.  

Centres should note that we, along with other awarding bodies, will only be offering AS Biology, Chemistry, Further Mathematics, Mathematics and Physics this autumn.  

The timetable for the standard GCSE November series, GCSE English Language and Mathematics, was confirmed in December 2020 and will not be changing. 

For GCSE, AS and A level examinations   

Entry for the autumn 2021 exam series for GCSE, AS and A level examinations is restricted to students who have received a teacher-assessed grade in summer 2021 and to students who are able to demonstrate that they would have entered summer 2021 exams had they not been cancelled. Centres should only submit entries for students where they are confident that they meet the eligibility criteria and can provide suitable evidence to the awarding organisation on request.    

For International GCSE, International AS and International A level examinations   

There will be no restrictions on entries for International GCSE, International AS and International A level examinations.  

We fully understand teachers' need to plan their courses for the forthcoming academic year. At present, the DfE and Ofqual have not yet confirmed arrangements about the format of assessments in summer 2022 for GCSE, AS and A level. Any decision is likely to be preceded by a consultation. Ofqual has finished consulting on arrangements for non-examined assessments in 2022. The consultation was on subjects with practical elements. The outcomes can be found on the Ofqual website. We will continue to keep our COVID-19 web page up to date with the latest information. 

We know you are keen to find out as soon as possible the rebate on qualification fees for Summer 2021. As you know, we have been required by the Department for Education, Ofqual and JCQ to implement changes to the awarding of grades this year. Whilst this means we have not had the costs of marking exam papers, we have taken on additional costs this year, and do not yet know the full extent of these. We want to be able to confirm our rebate amount with schools and colleges as soon as possible and we will do so following outstanding policy decisions from the Department for Education.  
As in 2020, we have no intention to gain from the ongoing difficult circumstances and we remain fully committed to passing back any savings, as we did in 2020.   

We understand that you may have some queries on what the rebate will be for this year, how it works and why fees apply. To help with these please take a look at the update shared last month on all things qualification fees, including: 

  • Our visual guide describing the additional training, support and processes we are providing for summer 2021.  
  • Our frequently asked questions with further information on queries you may have around qualification fees.  

The updated guidance on awarding results in 2021 can be found on our dedicated web page. You will find videos of briefings and Q&A sessions with additional detail, alongside the guidance.

If you’d like to find out the latest information and support for our vocational qualifications, please take a look at our web page where you can find news and updates, with links to our regular VQ Bulletin which contains all the key updates you need for our vocational qualifications.


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