General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 31
As we approach the first large general qualifications exam series in a few years and we begin to send question papers out to centres around the world, I’d like to thank you for the incredible work you have done this year.
Despite the many challenges you have faced along the way, your dedication to prepare your students for their exams is inspiring.
As always, we’re here to support you throughout the next few months. Please do make sure you’ve read all the important information about key dates and the package of measures to support learners in May/June 2022 on our website.
The Joint Council for Qualifications has just released their Guide to post-results services for June 2022 and you can also download their Guide to special considerations for the May/June 2022 exam series. Plus, Ofqual has updated its Guide for schools and colleges 2022: GCSEs, AS and A levels. Do share these key documents with all colleagues in your centre.
Included in this issue of the bulletin are some important reminders about question paper security, advance information, our new Learner Work Transfer (LWT) system and a new guide for students with top tips for getting ready for exams.
We’ll continue to write to you through these bulletins with important and helpful resources and information throughout the exam series, and of course you can always get in touch if you have any questions. We will always do our best to get you the answers as quickly as possible.
JCQ have released updated Special Considerations Guidance to cover COVID-19 for Summer 2022.
The guidance has been created in line with the latest UKHSA guidance. Candidates should be encouraged to attend examinations as much as possible and where it is safe to do so in line with Government guidelines.
However, in circumstances where a candidate who is staying at home and avoiding contact with others, in line with UKHSA guidance, at the time of the examination, is considered to be absent from the examination for an acceptable reason and would be eligible for special considerations. This includes candidates who are displaying the symptoms described in the UKHSA guidance as advising them to stay at home (e.g. a high temperature for those aged 18 and under) as well as those with a positive COVID-19 test result. Where a candidate still wishes to attend an examination, despite having symptoms (e.g. a high temperature) or a positive COVID-19 test, the centre should encourage the candidate to follow the UKHSA’s guidance or local authority guidance.
The JCQ awarding bodies will be adapting Form 14 -JCQ/ME - Self-certification for candidates who have missed an examination to assist centres in dealing with candidates who are absent from an examination for an acceptable reason in line with the UKHSA guidance. Centres will expect parents/carers/guardians and candidates to complete the relevant sections of the form. Centres can verify the candidate’s circumstances, where provided in Form 14, to process an application for special consideration using the category ‘absent candidate’. There is no requirement for a candidate to complete a COVID-19 test to provide evidence of their absence from an examination.
JCQ will be releasing a further set of FAQs but examples can be found on pages 20-21 of the guide.
Like you, we take question paper security seriously. We’re always seeking ways to enhance the security of our papers and we wanted to let you know that we’re planning on making some changes which may affect you this May/June.
For exams in May/June, we will be putting additional measures in place to enhance the security of exams in A level Mathematics and some other identified high-risk A level and International A level subjects. If your centre will be affected by these changes you will receive written communication from us this week with further details.
In the meantime, as we build up to the examination series we recommend reading the latest JCQ Instructions for Conducting Examinations document. More information about our question paper tracking services and how to store question papers can be found on our support portal.
You can also watch the new JCQ video released this week, which covers exam day guidance, including handling question papers and how to run exams smoothly.
Plus, you can also access our free on-demand e-Learning for Exams Officers where our interactive module walks you through the process of maintaining exam paper security in your centre.
As we have previously mentioned, for May/June 2022, the portal will also be used for a host of GCSE, International GCSE, A level, Project and International A levels that involve either a speaking component, performance, portfolio, or other non-examined assessment. Please refer to the relevant support guides and videos to determine how and when you will need to use learner work transfer.
We're pleased to confirm that the Examination/Moderation Learner Work Transfer portal is now open for all relevant subjects
We are aware that some of you have experienced problems using the Learner Work Transfer (LWT) platform for the first time, and we'd like to apologise for this and any inconvenience this has caused. As with any new system there is always new learning as it is used for the first time, but please be assured we are committed to making further improvements to the system as we optimise this for use going forward.
We know that Exams Officers play a vital role in delivering assessments, and maintaining the integrity of our qualifications. Which is why we have a range of support you can access for Summer 2022.
You can access our free on-demand eLearning at any time. These training modules are fully interactive, with pre-recorded step-by-step guidance from our Exams Officer training team. It's just like having a member of the team sat next to you, taking you through mock webpages and systems so you can understand processes from start to finish.
Bookmark our Exams Officer support page, so you can have key dates and JCQ guidance to hand when you need it most.
We're running a series of zoom events over the next few months for Exams Officers, to help you prepare for the coming summer exam session and to make sure you're ready to issue results successfully in August. We'll be covering news, updates and signposting to the support available to you.
Our next session is 19th May at 7am BST, and you can book your place here.
Our Key Dates Finder enables you to find all of the key dates for Pearson general qualifications and subjects in one place.
Here are those taking place in the next few weeks.
- 2 May – GCSE and A level Art & Design moderation visit window opens
- 5 May – GCSE and A level Physical Education moderation window closes
- 15 May – Deadline for centres to submit marks and moderation samples for AS and A level, GCSE, International GCSE, Project and Entry Level Certificate
- 15 May - Deadline for centres to submit GCSE, AS and A level Geography Fieldwork Statement form
- 16 May – Special Considerations application window opens 16 May – A level and GCSE examinations begin
- 20 May – GCSE, IAL, International GCSE and A level MFL speaking test window closes
For more information on key dates for post results services please visit our Post-results services key dates web page.
As the exam season is just 2 weeks away we know this is the first high-stake exam series for so many students and that may be a little overwhelming for some. We’ve put together a Getting ready for exams guide that includes some top tips and advice including:
- preparing for exams
- what happens on exam day
- where to find further support
- and what happens once exams are over.
Take a look at the guide and please do pass it on to your students.
We also have information and links on our students, parents and carers web page, so please do share this link with your students.
We’re committed to equity and opportunity, so that all learners can realise the life they imagine. We’ll keep you updated about some of the continual work we’re doing to make that intention a reality in each bulletin. We’ve created this Diversity Community where you can get information and ideas about our DEI initiatives across subjects. To join a wider community of people who are actively supporting diversity, you may like to join Diverse Educators.
On 25 April, we published our latest blog in the ‘Plotting Ahead’ series inspired by Bennie Kara’s discussion of ‘usualising’: Top 10 tips on how to usualise diversity in the English curriculum.
These are the latest additions to our growing collection of diversity and inclusion resources for Modern Foreign Languages, including:
- Discussing race as linguists
- LGBT+ activism and gender-neutral language in grammatically gendered languages
- Culture beyond Europe
- How Black History is celebrated in the French, German and Spanish-speaking worlds.
#BeInBusiness is an online initiative created to support schools and educators, by inspiring greater student inclusion in Business at GCSE and A level with a series of thought-provoking interviews, real-life case studies, and exciting industry contributions, designed to be widely shared in schools and educational settings.
We recently held our Diversity in data webinar with leading mathematician Professor Hannah Fry and explored how we can help all learners feel included and represented.
In April we kicked off the Geographical Association Annual Conference with a Pearson workshop entitled Practical steps to diversify your geography lessons.
Mental Health Awareness Week is happening from 9–15 May and provides an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the importance of mental health and wellbeing.
During this time and all year round, our free resources are available to support teachers, students and families – from advice on coping with anxiety to fun activities to boost wellbeing.
Have you signed up for your subject advisor updates?
Our team of subject advisors send out regular important communications about their specific subject areas including important information about assessments, support, events, resources and other key areas of information.
Please take a look at our FAQ hub, and Teaching, Learning and Assessment page for Vocational and Technical Qualifications in 2021/22.
You will find the latest information and support for our vocational qualifications on this web page, along with links to our regular VQ Bulletin containing all the key updates you need for our vocational qualifications. Please do bookmark this page for future reference.