General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 50 | Pearson qualifications

General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 50

19 October 2023

Dear Colleague, 

Welcome to the 50th issue of the Qualifications Bulletin! Thank you for your continued readership as we bring you all the information, news and updates each month to help you deliver our qualifications and support your students effectively.

Read more

This month we bring you a brand-new General qualifications assessment support page where we’ll provide you with the latest news and updates from Ofqual, DfE and JCQ, as well as all our support for the academic year. You can read more about this below.

On 21 September Ofqual published their resilience guidance for centres delivering: GCSE, AS and A levels, Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Award in maths (AEA). We’ve put a summary together for you and a link to the Ofqual document below. There’s also an update from JCQ on guidance for use of calculators in exams.

As half term approaches, I do hope you will be able to have a good break. That will then bring us to the November exam series where we have the usual GCSE English Language and Maths resit window, plus our new November series for International GCSE qualifications. I do hope these are successful for you and your students.

As ever, if you need any more information or want to share any feedback with us, you can always get in touch via our support portal. We will always do our best to get you the answers as quickly as possible.

With best wishes,

Hayley White
Vice President, Assessment 

We’ve got a new support page for you to bookmark – General qualifications assessment support. Here we’ll share news information and updates from Ofqual, the Department for Education (DfE), the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and Pearson, relating to the exams and assessments for our GCSE, AS and A level qualifications.

We’ll be updating it regularly so you know you’ve got all the latest announcements, news, support materials and updates to enable you to teach our qualifications, help your students with their assessments and post-results support, to enable them to progress.

Ofqual resilience guidance September 2023  

On 21 September 2023, Ofqual published the resilience guidance for centres delivering: GCSE, AS and A levels, Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Award in maths (AEA). We’ve put together a summary of this guidance on our new support page with links through to the full information from Ofqual.

Please do encourage your team members to read through the Ofqualsguidance in full.

On 15 September 2023 the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) updated its ‘Instructions for the Conduct of Qualifications’ document for the 2023/24 academic year to provide more clarity to candidates, exam officers and teachers given recent changes in technology. 

In particular, the use of calculators in exams has been updated in Section 10 ‘Using calculators’. The use of calculators applies to a number of different subjects so please do pass this information to all who need to read it.

Full details can be found in the in the booklet Instructions for conducting examinations 2023-2024 and a set of FAQs about using calculators on the JCQ website.

Read the full information

Supporting continuous professional development with the PD Academy

Many of you have already been attending our online summer 2023 subject feedback events where we present key themes on how students performed in the 2023 summer series and give teachers the opportunity to explore this feedback. We’ve also been sharing ideas on how to make the most of the post-results support available and how this can be used to help prepare students for future exam series. We hope you’ve found these useful.

We do have more feedback events lined up, so please do visit the PD Academy and search for your subject to find out more about the events, dates, and how to sign up.

Visit the PD Academy

This autumn sees our first November series for International GCSEs. This series was introduced to best meet the needs of students requiring International GCSE exam opportunities outside of the full May/June series and it replaces the previous January series.

Read more detail about the new November series.

Please take a look at the International GCSE November series exam timetable.

We want to ensure you have all the help and support you need at your fingertips, that’s why we’ve got a library of support articles hosted on our Customer Support Portal. Each article contains answers, detailed information, step-by-step guides, instructional videos, and general advice. Articles require no special access, are easily searchable by keywords in their title, and are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Take a look at our short video that explains more about our support portal, the information you can find and the further benefits it provides.

You can contact your Subject Specialists using the Customer Support Portal and it is also home to our Teacher and administration community groups. By joining these groups, you can ask questions directly to our Subject Advisors, browse posts and updates and share ideas and good practices with colleagues. And for good measure, we also have the portal user guide.   

Check out the Pearson support portal.

Please take a look at EO Support: New Academic Year Essential Information covering important topics, including: 

  • November exam series 
  • latest JCQ documents and guidance, including this year’s ICE document
  • our 2023/24 Information Manual 
  • entry key dates and guidance
  • and much more!

Autumn exam series 

Do take a look at the full November series timetable on our timetables page.

The stationery and materials spreadsheet for the autumn series is also available to download

JCQ General Regulations for Approved Centres (section 5.3, (j) Conflicts of Interest) states that centres must inform the awarding body, before the published deadline for entries, of:

  • any members of centre staff who are taking qualifications at their own centre which include internally assessed components/units
  • any members of centre staff who are teaching and preparing members of their family (which includes step-family, foster family and similar close relationships) or close friends and their immediate family (e.g. son/daughter) for qualifications which include internally assessed components/units.

Please note that when entering members of centre staff for qualifications with internally assessed components at their own centre, this must be as a last resort in cases where the member of centre staff is unable to find another centre.

Declarations can be submitted to us via our Declaration of Interest form.

Centres must also maintain clear records of all instances where:

  • exams office staff have members of their family (which includes step-family, foster family and similar close relationships) or close friends and their immediate family (e.g. son/daughter) being entered for examinations and assessments either at the centre itself or other centres;
  • centre staff are taking qualifications at their centre which do not include internally assessed components/units;
  • centre staff are taking qualifications at other centres.

If you have any questions regarding declarations of interest, please email conflictofinterest@pearson.com.

Languages | Outcomes of the consultation on A  level Chinese and Japanese 

We previously let you know that the Department for Education and Ofqual were running a consultation on the subject content for A level Chinese and Japanese. This consultation is now complete, and we have published an update on the outcomes on our languages subject update. 

Read the update.

Biblical Hebrew - Set texts 

We have recently published an update to our Biblical Hebrew set texts to include the texts for examinations in 2026-2028. These can be found on page 10 of the specification. 

View the specification.

Science - Equation List for International GCSE Physics and Science Double Award 

We can confirm the following: 

The equation list will be retained for the November 2023 examination series for Pearson Edexcel International GCSE Physics (4PH1) and International GCSE Science Double Award (4SD0) for components 4PH1/1P, 4PH1/2P and 4SD0/1P. 

This means that students will have access to an equation list in the exam room showing all relevant equations. The equation list will be available as an additional insert inside the exam paper, and it will be the same as the one provided to students in the summer 2023 exam series.

Please read the latest science update for full information and links to download the equation list.

International GCSE English Language A (4EA1 03) coursework in November 2023 

Centres are reminded that November 2023 submissions of Assignment A: poetry and prose texts must follow the issue 5 specification. Students write on two texts from Part 2 of the anthology and submit a commentary.

The submission deadline is 7 November 2023. 

Read on for further information.

Art and Design - Support videos 

Check out our new series of bitesize videos for GCSE and A level Art and Design to help you understand your centre moderation reports as well as evidence and assess the Assessment Objectives this year.

Watch the full GCSE Art and Design playlist.

Watch the full A level Art and Design playlist.

These videos are for our UK qualifications, look out for the new video series for our international qualifications coming soon. 

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 during September and early in the autumn term.

Date

Qualification

Exam
series

Description

14 Oct 23

International GCSE

Nov 23

High late entry fees will be charged from this date

17 Oct 23

Project and Edexcel Award

Jan 24

Entry deadline

21 Oct 23

Project and Edexcel Award

Jan 24

Deadline to submit transferred candidate arrangements

1 Nov 23

GCSE English Language, GCSE Mathematics and International GCSE

Nov 23

Deadline to submit access arrangements applications

1 Nov 23

International GCSE

Nov 23

Last day that withdrawn entries will be refunded

2 Nov 23

GCSE English Language and Mathematics

Nov 23

High late entry fees and amendment fees will be charged from this date

3 Nov 23

International GCSE

Nov 23

English as a Second Language, Chinese and French - end of window for speaking tests

5 Nov 23

GCSE English Language

Nov 23

Final date for submitting Spoken Language Endorsement Grades

6 Nov 23

GCSE English Language and Mathematics

Nov 23

First date for submitting special consideration requests

6 Nov 23

GCSE English Language and Mathematics

Nov 23

First examination takes place

7 Nov 23

International GCSE

Nov 23

Coursework submission deadline

15 Nov 23

GCSE English Language and Mathematics

Nov 23

Last examination takes place

18 Nov 23

Project and Edexcel Award

Jan 24

High late entry fees and amendment fees will be charged from this date

22 Nov 23

GCSE English Language, GCSE Mathematics and International GCSE

Nov 23

Final date for submitting special consideration requests

23 Nov 23

All qualifications

June 24

Basedata issued

For more information on key dates for post results services please visit our Post-results services key dates page

Our Subject Advisors do an incredible job supporting teachers, schools and colleges all year round.

Make sure you’re signed up to receive all the latest news and updates from your subject area. And if you’ve not met your Subject Advisor in person, take a look at the videos they’ve done to introduce themselves and hear them speaking about the type of support they provide and the experience they have within their fields. 

Take a look at your Subject Advisor's video and sign up for your subject newsletter today.

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