2021 qualification fees FAQs
Summer 2021 GCSE, AS and A level general qualifications
It’s been another extraordinary and extremely challenging year and, whilst external assessments are again not taking place this summer, we know that for teachers it’s very different to last year.
We appreciate all that you're doing right now for your students. Behind the scenes, we're working hard to ensure that all the systems and processes are in place to enable the smooth implementation of the new assessment approach that Ofqual requires this year.
We know you're keen to find out as soon as possible the rebate on qualification fees for summer 2021. As you know, we've been required by the Department for Education, Ofqual and JCQ to implement changes to the awarding of grades this year. Whilst this means we've not had the costs of marking exam papers, we have taken on additional costs this year, and don't yet know the full extent of these.
Please take a look at our visual guide that describes the additional training, support and processes we're providing for summer 2021 GCSE, AS and A level general qualifications.
You can also read through our frequently asked questions below.
General qualification fees cover the delivery of each qualification over a two-year period from first teaching to successful completion of the course and assessment. Our experts work to provide schools and colleges, teachers and students with the best and most up-to-date support possible throughout this cycle. Please take a look at our visual guide that explains this in more detail.
Teachers are doing a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances and we appreciate all your hard work and engagement with the new processes set out by Ofqual for summer 2021.
We're also aware that Teacher Assessed Grades are just one of the many activities you are called upon to do as you continue to support your students and school community in what has been a very disrupted year.
As is always the case, qualification fees cover more than the cost of just the exams. As well as paying for the writing and marking of examinations and moderation or verification of non-examined assessment, qualification fees pay for the the development of the qualifications themselves and the support, training and materials that happen throughout the delivery of the qualification. This includes teaching and learning resources, training and events, customer services and dedicated subject support services. This work, including the writing and printing of the exam papers themselves, happens many months ahead of exams being taken.
This year, with exams replaced by the Teacher Assessed Grades process, what we're required to do has also needed to change.
Whilst there are no exams to be marked, we've been working hard on the changes needed including:
- adapting the intended 2021 exam papers to new requirements and preparing advance notices
- developing new IT systems to capture Teacher Assessed Grades
- developing and implementing a new quality assurance process and the materials, including assessment materials, to support this.
There are costs that we will not be incurring this summer, such as the costs associated with marking assessments, and we remain fully committed to passing on net savings to schools, wherever they exist.
We’ve been investing in a range of new activities to support the new arrangements required this year. Just some of these are:
- training for teachers on more than 100 qualifications - providing live events, on demand sessions, videos, downloadable guides and documents
- developing and delivering more than 4,500 new assessment materials for teachers and students
- recruitment and training of hundreds of senior assessment associates so they can complete rigorous subject-level quality assurance processes
- reviewing more than 7,000 individual centre policies
- developing new technology systems to accept centre policies and teacher assessed grades
- delivering results earlier, enabling all GCSE and A level students to receive their results as soon as possible
- setting up and running a new appeals process - still to be confirmed by JCQ
- preparing to deliver an additional autumn series.
You can find out more about these activities below.
- Training events, guidance and resources
We’ve delivered training for teachers on more than 100 qualifications, providing live and recorded training sessions that are available to all teachers and centres along with guidance documents and support for the many processes that have been put in place by the Department for Education and Ofqual. All our training materials are available on our Professional Development Academy web pages.
- Additional assessment materials
In March, we released more than 4,000 additional assessment materials, mapping grids, mark schemes and grade exemplification documents for all our general qualifications (except Art and Design). Our assessment associates created additional assessment materials based on topics with the associated mark schemes. Grade exemplification documents were also provided to help teachers understand what different grades look like based on previous examples of student work. Please see our Summer 2021 support web page with information on all the support we are providing.
- Assessment materials for students
Our assessment associates also created more than 1,000 student assessment materials and mapping grids. We released these on 19 April, making them publicly available to students, parents and carers to support students in their learning. Take a look at our dedicated web page with Support for students, parents and carers.
- Centre policy and grade submission systems
We’ve developed a new technology system to accept centre policies and teacher assessed grades. These are available via Edexcel Online, along with guidance and videos on how to upload your data.
- Quality assurance processes
For this summer 2021 series, we have designed, developed and implemented a large new quality assurance process and are using our Centre Quality Assurers to check over 7,000 centre policies. We know that teachers are working hard to collect evidence and we will be using teams of hundreds of senior assessment associates to check the evidence submitted at subject level. These will comprise of thousands of individual checks and will help to provide the external validation of grades that are determined this series.
- Customer services and expert support
Our expert Subject Advisors and customer services team have been working even harder to solve an unprecedented volume of queries and support customers in these unusual circumstances.
- Results days and awarding of grades
We’ll be providing support for teachers, students and parents throughout the results period, so you know what to expect and how to support students with their next steps. Please note that results days are earlier this year:
- 10 August for AS and A level
- 12 August for GCSE.
The process for appeals for summer 2021 has not yet been confirmed by JCQ, but is clearly an important area that is going to require rigorous planning and implementation in a short period of time. As soon as we have further details on this from JCQ we will share the information with you and provide supporting guidance.
In January this year, we confirmed our commitment to pass net savings back to schools. We understand that budgets are tight, and to support schools we've put in place a number of steps to help, including:
- extending the payment terms for our general qualification summer entry fees to the end of June
- extending the deadlines and waiving related late fees for private candidates
- extending the deadline for tier changes for GCSE and significantly reducing associated fees.
We understand the pressure on schools right now and that you are keen to know what the qualification fees rebate will be. We are not in a position to be able to confirm the percentage rebate at present as we do not yet know the full costs of awarding for summer 2021.
We are not in a position to be able to confirm what the rebate will be as there are still many unknowns. We know how important certainty is for schools, and will confirm further details as soon as we have a full picture of all costs and savings later in the year.
The rebate will be a credit on your account that can be redeemed against your existing account balance or for future purchases.