General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 42
With half term split across two weeks this term, I hope those of you who are back in schools and colleges had a lovely break, and those of you enjoying half term this week are having a restful time.
On February 23, I’ll be speaking at the BESA Conference and sharing the findings from Pearson’s research on digital assessment. I’ll be exploring the role of technology in exams and assessment and how we assess the curriculum - now and in the future. I look forward to seeing many of you there.
March 2 brings results day for the January exam series for International GCSE, plus the Edexcel Awards and Project qualifications. I do hope this is a successful day for those of you awaiting results for your students.
This edition of the bulletin is packed with news and information, including:
- some important information regarding a mandatory Edexcel Online password reset from 7 March
- contingency dates for the summer exam series
- a reminder about the importance of centre contingency plans and guidance set out by JCQ
- security of exam papers
- subject updates and more.
As always, we are keen to hear your feedback, so please do get in touch with us as we’d love to hear from you.
With best wishes,
Good password management is essential to maintaining the security of our systems and safeguarding important centre and learner data. To enhance security, we have revised our Edexcel Online password policy and from Tuesday 7 March 2023, we will require all Pearson Edexcel Online users to reset their password.
Online on or after 7 March 2023 will be asked to select a new password. Your existing password will automatically be cancelled from this date, therefore you must use the ‘forgot password’ link to reset your password.
Please take a look at our guide to resetting your password.
- Your password needs to be between 8 and 15 characters in length and contain at least one number.
- We recommend you use a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols (- _ @ .) for extra security.
If you have recently reset your password, or if you reset it before 7 March, you’ll still need to set a new password which meets these requirements on or after that date.
You do not need to log into the system on 7 March just to change your password, but the next time you do log in, you will need to set a new password.
This password reset is the first step in a sequence of additional security measures we’re introducing in order to protect you, your centre and your learners’ data. Thank you for your support in helping us to enhance security.
If you have any questions or if you would like to speak to us directly, you can get in touch with any questions via our Support Portal.
We provided information in our January bulletin on the contingency dates that have been built into the GCSE, AS and A level summer exam timetables in the UK.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, further resilience was needed within the exam timetables, and a single contingency day was not felt to be sufficient if a national event or incident had a significant effect on the exam timetable.
For June 2023, there will now be two additional half-day contingency sessions. These are on Thursday 8 June 2023 and Thursday 15 June 2023. The standard contingency day remains at the end of the timetable on Wednesday 28 June 2023.
Schools and colleges should ensure candidates and parents are aware of the contingency arrangements on these three days, and candidates should be encouraged to remain available until Wednesday 28 June 2023, should examinations need to be rescheduled.
Centre contingency planning: JCQ guidance
In case of disruption to the exam system, all centres must have contingency plans in place. There are three main categories of disruption:
- Candidates at risk of being unable to take examinations; centres remain open.
- Centres at risk of being unable to open as normal during the examination period.
- Disruption to transporting completed examination scripts.
You should review your own centre contingency plans well ahead of the summer exam series to make sure they remain up to date and appropriate.
Full information about the support available for 2023 can be found on our Summer 2023 support page. This includes information and outcomes for all the autumn consultations undertaken by Ofqual.
GCSE formulae and equation sheets now available
The DfE confirmed in November that, in 2023, students are not required to memorise formulae for GCSE Maths and equations for GCSE Physics and Combined Science.
You can now download the 2023 formulae and equations sheets for GCSE Maths and GCSE Physics and Combined Science from our website. These are the same formulae and equations sheets that were used for the summer 2022 series and, for Maths only, the November 2022 series, but the date has been changed to 2023.
You can download the new sheets at the links below:
For summer 2023, we will also be providing equations sheets for International GCSE Physics. You can download these at the links below. For International GCSE Maths, the equations required will be included in the actual exam papers.
- International GCSE Physics
- International GCSE Science (Single Award)
- International GCSE Science (Double Award)
Supporting resilience in the exam system in 2023
Whilst the UK government does not expect to ever be in a position where exams are cancelled nationally and alternative assessment arrangements are required, good public policy means having contingency, even for extremely unlikely scenarios.
Ofqual has therefore provided guidance for all schools and colleges on the steps they should take to collect and retain evidence in the academic year 2022 to 2023 in the unlikely event that exams cannot go ahead as planned.
This guidance covers GCSEs, AS and A levels, Project qualifications, and the Advanced Extension Award (AEA) in Mathematics.
Letters from Ofqual to Heads and students
Ofqual has also published open letters to heads and students about arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels and vocational qualifications in 2023. Please do take a look and pass this information onto your staff and students.
Stay up to date with all our support for 2023 on our Summer 2023 support page.
Following customer feedback, we’ve undertaken a range of system improvements for our Learner Work Transfer.
New server: we have moved to a new server for Learner Work Transfer that now enables us to handle increased capacity during peak periods.
Better user experience: we will now confirm when an upload has been completed by the introduction of a new file status called ‘Uploaded’. Once all files are in an 'Uploaded' state, you can submit your request.
Improved scanning: we have removed the ‘Scanning’ status so that this takes place in the background automatically. This means that once a file is uploaded to us, you can leave this within the system and check back to see if it has been ‘Accepted’ or 'Rejected’.
Future improvements for summer 2023: we’re working on further improvements to Learner Work Transfer which will be in effect for the summer 2023 exam series. These include:
- being able to remove a file in an ‘Uploaded’ state
- enabling a Shared Files function so that your learners can be linked to a file once it has been uploaded, rather than waiting for a file to move to an ‘Accepted’ state.
For more support with Learner Work Transfer please visit our support page.
As we head towards the summer exam series, we’d like to remind you that question paper security remains essential to the smooth running of exams in your centre and for the wider cohort.
We have bitesize on-demand training on question paper security available for you. This training module covers the importance of question paper security, how to securely handle question papers from receiving the papers right through to returning the completed scripts to Pearson, and how to recognise and report a question paper breach.
The entry deadline for UK centres for GCSE, International GCSE, AS and A level, AEA, Entry Level Certificate, Level 3 Core Maths and Project qualifications was Tuesday 21 February. Please note that entries made from Wednesday 22 February will be charged the late entry fee.
Further key dates are listed in the Key Dates section below.
When making entries, please remember to enter students as private candidates if they are not receiving tuition at your centre. This includes resit students if they are not receiving tuition at the time the entry is made. A candidate cannot be both internal and private at the same centre for the same series.
Entering private candidates correctly will ensure that they can receive support directly from Pearson when appropriate, for example when accessing the review of marking or appeals processes.
Pearson Edexcel GCSE History Paper 2 exam arrangements in summer 2023
This update is to clarify the exam arrangements for GCSE History Paper 2 in summer 2023, to ensure that students, teachers and exams officers have a clear understanding of how the paper will be assessed on the day of the exam.
Reminder on the importance of writing answers in the correct space in Edexcel GCSE History exams
The following guidance serves as a gentle reminder to students, teachers and exam invigilators about the importance of writing answers in the correct space and continuing on a separate piece of paper if extra space is needed to ensure the full answer is seen by the examiner before a mark is awarded.
A diverse future for GCSE Design and Technology
Following our research into the subject of Design and Technology, we have updated our shortlist of 8 designers and design-related organisations to become a list of 41 named designers and organisations. The list provides choice for every material specialism and has been built to ensure that all parts of the UK are represented, alongside a broader commitment we have made to include designers of more diverse backgrounds. The GCSE specification has been updated so that teachers of Design and Technology can easily engage with our enhanced designer list.
Launch events for 2024 Pearson Edexcel GCSE French specification
We’d love to see you at one of our upcoming launch events so you can find out more about the key features of our 2024 Pearson Edexcel GCSE French specification and assessments. We have created compassionate and inclusive assessments that allow all students to showcase their language skills. We’ll also be able to share information on how we’ll support you in preparing for and delivering the new qualification, as well as answering all your questions.
The 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.
|21/02/2023||GCSE, International GCSE, AS & A level, AEA, Entry Level Certificate, Level 3 Core Maths and Project||Jun 23||Entry deadline for UK centres|
|22/02/2023||GCSE, International GCSE, AS & A level, AEA, Entry Level Certificate, Level 3 Core Maths and Project||Jun 23||Late entry fees for UK centres will be charged from this date|
|28/02/2023||GCSE English Language & Mathematics||Nov 22||Date by which certificates will be issued|
|01/03/2023||International GCSE and Project||Jan 23||Restricted release of results to centres|
|01/03/2023||A level Physical Education 9PE0/03||Jun 23||End of moderation window; final date for centre visit or video evidence to be submitted digitally for remote moderation|
|01/03/2023||GCSE Physical Education 1PE0/03||Jun 23||Moderation window opens for centre visit and remote moderation.
N.B. Centre marks must be submitted on Edexcel Online 15 days prior to the moderation day
|02/03/2023||International GCSE and Project||Jan 23||Release of results to candidates|
|17/03/2023||A level Biology A 9BN0/03||Jun 23||Pre-release material issued on our website|
|21/03/2023||GCSE, International GCSE, AS & A level, AEA, Entry Level Certificate, Level 3 Core Maths and Project||Jun 23||Deadline to request transferred candidate arrangements|
|27/03/2023||International GCSE Chinese, French, German and Spanish and English as a Second Language||Jun 23||Speaking tests may begin|
|31/03/2023||A level Drama 9DR0/02 and GCSE Drama 1DR0/02||Jun 23||End of practical examination window|
|31/03/2023||GCSE, International GCSE, AS & A level, AEA, Entry Level Certificate, Level 3 Core Maths and Project||Jun 23||Deadline to submit applications for access arrangements|
For more information on key dates for post results services please visit our Post-results services key dates web page.
Ever thought about becoming an examiner? Have a look at the list of vacancies we have available at present. If you can't see your qualification but are interested, then please do get in touch with us.
Some of the benefits include:
- paid to attend training events and meetings
- discounts on Pearson resources
- career progression
- access to a wide variety of free CPD
- flexible working.
Monthly Exams Officer Zoom sessions
Throughout the 2022/23 academic year, we’ll be hosting a series of online training sessions for Exams Officers. These live events go through news, updates and various other areas to support you in your role over the coming months.
All events are recorded, so if you’re unable to attend you can go back and watch previous events on our support portal.
It's not too late to book onto the session on Thursday 9 March, 14:00–15:00 GMT.
With the summer series on the horizon, now is the time to make sure you’re signed up for your Subject Advisor updates.
All our Subject Advisors are here to support and help you as you teach our qualifications. They all send out regular newsletters with information, support and reminders about your subject area. Make sure you’re signed up to ensure you have all you need to deliver the qualifications to your students.
Stay informed with Vocational Qualifications by following @PearsonBTEC, where we will update you with the latest information, or access our 2022/23 support and information page, which is updated frequently.