General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 10 | Pearson qualifications

General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 10

26 May 2021

Dear Colleague,

I hope you are keeping safe and and things are going well for your centre this term. For those of you who are about to enter the half term break, I hope that you are looking forward to a well-earned break.

Over the past two weeks our Centre Quality Assurers have been working through your centre policies, it was fantastic to see that so many were received ahead of the deadline. You may have already heard from us if we needed a little more information from you. If you haven’t, don’t worry, you will shortly receive a notification to confirm that your centre policy has been checked and nothing further is required.

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I know that many of you are used to receiving these general qualifications bulletins fortnightly on a Wednesday and that they provide a useful channel for sharing key information. I am expecting that in the next week there will be some further information to share with you regarding the digital submission system that we will be using to support the stage 3 quality assurance subject level checks and appeals. I will aim to share this information as soon as possible, which could mean sending it during the break which is not something I would normally do. I want to do this to ensure that you have it in your centres for when many of you return after the half term break, but it does not mean that it needs to be read during this time.

There is important information contained in this edition that relates to exam opportunities in October and November, grade submission portal, upcoming deadlines and some important information about some individual subjects.

To ensure you have the latest information, please continue to visit our dedicated summer 2021 support page, and follow us on Twitter (@PearsonEdexcel) and Facebook to keep up to date. If you would like 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.

My thanks again to you and your colleagues for the amazing work you are doing every day.

Hayley White 
Assessment Director

Over the past two weeks our Centre Quality Assurers have been working through the 7,000 centre policies that you have submitted to us. You may have heard from us already if further information is required and everyone will shortly receive a notification from us to confirm that your centre policies have been checked.In the meantime, please continue to collect and collate the evidence you are using to determine grades for learners this year.

The teacher assessed grades portal is now available to use.

Templates are now available for you to download and add your teacher assessed grades. With that in mind, we have rounded up some resources that we hope you will find useful.

A video guide to entering teacher assessed grades for summer 2021 via the portal for relevant GCSE, AS/A level, International GCSE, International AS/A Level, all other General, International and BTEC Qualifications. The video displays a BTEC qualification example but the process is exactly the same for submitting for any qualification.

A knowledge base article, for all centre staff that will be using Pearson’s Teacher Assessment Grades (TAG) submission portal in 2021.

A downloadable PDF guide to TAGs/Q-TAGs and the Portal.

More information and support can be found on our dedicated website pages:

We recommend that you log in at your earliest convenience and check that your login and user profiles are correct for those staff that require access. Please also check that the candidate details and entries are correct and if there are any omissions or changes needed then please action them yourself via Edexcel Online or EDI. Should you discover any required changes after 18 June, please contact us as soon as possible via email to

We understand that the opportunity to sit examinations remains important to you and your students. We recently consulted with you on this - thank you to those that participated - this helped us understand your priorities which included the need for contingency measures and flexibility, so that your students can get the grades they need to progress. 

We are pleased to confirm the following exam arrangements.

  • International GCSE: We will be offering an additional series for a wide range of subjects towards the end of 2021. This is an additional arrangement for 2021 only and exams are expected to take place in the months of November and December. We’ll be running a focused January 2022 series. 
    > Please take a look at the subject availability for both series (PDF, 0.1 MB).

  • International AS/A Level (IAL): We currently offer an October series for International AS/A level (IAL) and this will go ahead as planned in October 2021. In addition, selected units will be made available to provide an opportunity for students to achieve what they need for progression. We also offer a January series and this will also go ahead as planned in January 2022. Across these two series, at least one exam opportunity for each modular IAL unit will be available before the May/June 2022 series. 
    > Please take a look at the subject availability for both series (PDF, 0.1 MB).
  • iPrimary and iLowerSecondary: An October series will be available as already planned for all subjects in iPrimary and iLowerSecondary.
  • GCSE and A level: Ofqual have also released the outcomes of their consultation on the autumn series. They have confirmed that exam boards will have to offer exams in all GCSE and A level subjects and AS exams in biology, chemistry, further maths, maths and physicsThe series will run in October and November 2021 and will be open for candidates who received a teacher assessed grade in August and also to those students who exam boards believe would have sat exams in summer 2021 had they not been cancelled i.e. where the effects of COVID-19 meant that exams could not take place.

> View provisional timetables

Following the end of the unseen assessment window, all mark schemes and other relevant assessment related materials are now available. These can now be found on the subject pages of our website. Please click on the relevant subject and these materials can be found under the ‘June 2021’ materials. We are also marking all of the unseen assessments that we have received to date. Any unseen assessments that are to be marked must have been received by us by 1 June. If you have not yet sent your scripts please do so as a matter of urgency. We will be returning marks to you via Edexcel Online as soon as they become available so please check your Edexcel Online accounts for these. We will be returning all marks to you by 11 June.

Ofqual have confirmed that exam boards will review all grades as part of their quality assurance processes for UK qualifications. For international qualifications, we are mirroring our approach to that of UK qualifications. We will be asking for the following to be submitted digitally to us as evidence. It will be for a maximum of five students in at least each of the following:

  • one International A level or AS module
  • two International GCSE subjects.

Sampling after the submission of grades will involve a review of evidence at qualification and subject level by subject specialists. If you only offer one of these qualification suites then you will only need to undertake the one relevant to your centre. This will need to be submitted to us from 18 June. We are asking for this as early as possible as we have heard from many of our international customers that the end of the school year is finishing in June. 

We will notify you of what subjects will need to be submitted by 18 June. We will confirm the submission approach in our next bulletin.

The latest timeline for international qualifications can be found in our 2021 key dates and deadline document (PDF, 0.1 MB) - we do continue to add dates so please do use it for your reference. 

Forthcoming key dates:

  • 26 May – 18 June: grade submission window opens.
  • 1 June: deadline for Pearson to receive unseen assessment scripts from centres for the marking service.
  • 11 June: deadline for Pearson to return all marks to centres for the unseen assessment scripts.
  • 18 June: date by which we will confirm which evidence samples you need to submit.

As part of the unseen assessment arrangements for the qualifications listed below, you are required to submit your papers to us via Learner Work Transfer.

Only the components listed below for the unseen assessments need to be submitted. Please note that this is not related to the stage 3 sampling activity.

Qualification Subject Paper
French IAL WFR01 01
French IAL WFR03 01
German IAL WGN01 01
German IAL WGN03 01
Spanish IAL WSP01 01
Spanish IAL WSP03 01

What files does the portal accept?
The portal accepts most of the popular file types including mp3, mp4 and Jpeg. A full list of accepted filetypes can be found on our LWT support page. You may need to convert the file to a .zip folder in some instances.

Where can I access the portal?
The portal is now open and can be accessed via your Edexcel Online account under ‘Learner Work Transfer’ and then via ‘Examination/ Moderation’. Please view the following video for a step by step guide. If you don’t have access to Edexcel Online please contact your national distributor or Pearson regional office. 

How does the portal work?
We have created a step by step video guide on how you can use the portal. If you would like to speak to us directly, you can get in touch with any questions via our Support Portal.

In line with the arrangements for International GCSE English as a Second Language, we will not provide centres with any materials for the ‘speaking endorsement’ (4ES1 paper 3/E: speaking) this summer. The speaking unit for this qualification will be reported as a separate ‘speaking endorsement’ (grade 9-1) in addition to the 'Teacher Assessed Grade' for the overall qualification (paper 1 & paper 2).

The unseen assessment materials that are currently available on our website, do not contain any assessment materials for the speaking unit, thus centres do not need to request randomisation grids or the date of the oral exam window. Centres are required to determine their candidate’s speaking endorsement grade through day to day classroom assessments or by using past papers available on our website. The deadline for submitting the speaking endorsement grade is the 18 June.

Our Professional Development Academy has detailed guidance and support in the form of checklists, video presentations, infographics and step- by-step guides to support you in determining fair grades for your students so they can progress on to their next stage.

In addition to this, teaching support can now be found on the individual subject pages where relevant. Full details and links can be found on our summer 2021 support page under the ‘Summer 2021 Grading Support’ section.

For the latest information and support for our vocational qualifications, please take a look at our BTEC International Bulletin Archive.


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