General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 13
Welcome to the 13th edition of the General Qualifications Bulletin and the last of the 2020/21 academic year for many of you.
From all of us here at Pearson we want to say a big thank you for everything you have done this last year. You have all played an important role in ensuring that schools and colleges have been able to stay open and that learners this year are able to receive their grades and progress on to their next steps.
We will continue to send these bulletins as we know there is still important information to share over the coming months about the October/November examination series and arrangements for assessment in 2022. The Department for Education and Ofqual have recently released their consultation on arrangements for examinations in 2022 that can be found on the DfE website. However, our next bulletin will be in three weeks’ time on 4 August and will be the final edition before results week. We will share the last key support documents and information that we think will be helpful before results day.
This doesn’t mean that we are not available to support you should you have any questions, so please continue to visit our dedicated summer 2021 support page and follow us on Twitter 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.
I hope you all have a chance to take a break. As always, thank you for all your hard work.
Over the past few weeks we, alongside the other Awarding Organisations, have been busy sampling the evidence submitted to support the teacher assessed grades. Where questions arose, or further evidence was required, we have been getting in touch as necessary.
In most instances we have already spoken with centres, but may still need to contact you up until Friday 16 July. However, if you have not heard from us at this stage it is unlikely that we will be in contact for any further evidence.
Please remember that all learner grades must be kept strictly confidential until results are published on results day.
Please be aware that if you submit any late entry or amendment requests after 15 July, you are at risk of not receiving results on results day. If you have any late amendments or entry requests, you should submit these before 15 July to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any changes to personal details such as amendments to name or date of birth, please submit these via our customer portal as normal.
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, 0.7 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.
- Appendix 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.
Please see the table below for results days in August 2021.
|Qualification||Exam session||Results to centres||Results to students|
| AS/A level, AEA, Edexcel Award Level 3,
EPQ and Mathematics in Context
International AS/A level
GCSE, International GCSE, Project Level
Entry Requirements and Key Dates
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. We will give the benefit of doubt to private candidates, to address concerns that they might not be able to provide evidence of their intention to take exams in the summer had they taken place. In this situation the student should make a declaration to the entering centre to confirm that they would have entered in summer 2021 if exams had taken place. Centres should retain these declarations and make them available to the awarding organisation or the JCQ Centre Inspection Service if requested.
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.
Please see the table below for the list of entry dates for the October/November 2021 series.
|Qualification||Exam session||Entries open||Entry deadline||Late fees charged from||High late/refund/ amendment deadline||High late/ amendment fees charged from|
The final timetables for all UK and International qualifications in October and November can now be found on our timetables web page.
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) have also published their key dates document for the exceptional Autumn series. This can be found on the JCQ website.
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.
October/November 2021 Series Fees
We know that the opportunity to sit examinations remains important for many of your students and we remain committed to supporting students' progress. We have decided to freeze autumn (October/November) 2021 exam fees for all our general qualifications (GCSE, International GCSE and AS/A level). This means that the fees for this series will remain the same as the fees published for summer 2021.
All this information can be found on our October/November 2021 exam series web page, which we will continue to update as further information becomes available.
We know that some customers may be intending to sit exams in January 2022. Please make sure that you have looked at which International GCSE qualifications are available in the series via our web page here as there have been some amendments made. The provisional timetables for the series are also available on our timetable web page. We will update you to confirm any assessment arrangements and the fees for this series by the start of the next academic year.
We fully understand teachers' need to plan their courses for the forthcoming academic year. The DfE and Ofqual have recently released their consultation on the format of assessments in summer 2022 for UK GCSE, AS and A level (PDF, 0.5 MB). The consultation closes on 1 August 2021 and we urge you to submit your feedback to the proposals.
In summary the consultation is seeking views on proposals on the following areas:
- choice of topics in GCSE English Literature, History, Ancient History and choice of content in GCSE Geography;
- changes to the requirements for the delivery of practical activities in Science subjects, and assessment in Art and Design;
- the provision of advance information on the focus of the content of exams in the majority of subjects at GCSE, AS and A level;
- the provision of support materials in GCSE Mathematics, Physics and Combined Science exams.
The proposals for each subject are set out in Annex A of the consultation document.
We are also working on arrangements for international qualifications and will share a further update once confirmed.
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 update web page up to date with the latest information.
We have also created a five-minute survey for heads of centre or senior leadership teams in schools, colleges and multi-academy trusts. It focuses on understanding any changes in curriculum and qualification choices that you may be considering for your current Year 10 students who are heading towards GCSE assessment in Summer 2022.
This survey is to help inform our operational and support planning.
The updated guidance on awarding results in 2021 can be found on our dedicated Assessment Hub 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.