5:12 pm, Thursday, 14th January 2021

School and college responsibility for exams from January 2021

Read the full guidance in this article on Gov.uk- School and college responsibility for exams from January 2021.

1. Main points

Students taking exams to improve their summer 2020 grades

In most cases, students used the grades they received in summer 2020 to move onto their next step.

There was also an opportunity for students to sit exams in autumn 2020 (for GCSE, AS/A level and some vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) and other general qualifications) or at the first available opportunity in 2021 (for some other VTQs).

In cases where students wish to sit exams, we expect the school or college that entered them in summer 2020 to enter them at the next available opportunity and make sure they have somewhere to sit their exams.

The Department for Education (DfE) exam support service will continue to help schools and colleges to book sites and invigilators where required, for those qualifications in scope.

We expect schools and colleges to pay fees for all students who were due to sit exams in the summer, rather than passing the cost on to students or their families.

‘Schools and colleges’ in this guidance refers to:

  • state-funded schools
  • further education, sixth-form and specialist colleges
  • apprenticeship providers who deliver functional skills qualification (FSQ) assessment in the workplace
  • independent training providers
  • adult and community learning providers
  • independent schools
  • private exam centres

2. Spring term 2021 exam arrangements

Following the cancellation of 2019 to 2020 academic year summer exams, students received their centre assessment grades, except where calculated grades were higher, in which case the calculated grades were awarded instead.

These summer 2020 grades were formal grades, with the same status as grades awarded in any other year, and the vast majority of students have been able to use them to move on to their next steps.

We announced that there would be an opportunity for students to sit exams in autumn 2020 and for some VTQs in the spring 2021 term. These exams would act as a backstop to the summer arrangements.

Students will be able to sit them if they are unhappy with their summer grade, or if they need an improved result to move onto the next stage of their education. There will also be a small group of students for whom there was not enough evidence for a grade to be awarded in the summer. It is particularly important that these students are able to sit exams in autumn 2020 or spring term 2021.

This guidance sets out schools’ and colleges’ responsibility for entering students for the exams in scope, and how the cost of fees will be covered.

Students taking exams in spring term 2021

This guidance relates to all schools and colleges that are approved to deliver GCSE, AS and A level and VTQs exams and assessments, whether or not they are state funded. This guidance also relates to apprenticeship providers who deliver FSQ assessment in the workplace, who are approved to deliver FSQs in English and maths at level 1 and 2, and where the apprentices usually undertake the FSQ exam in their workplace, and an exam is due to be taken between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021.

It should be read alongside the following wider guidance:

For those VTQs and FSQs in scope, exams officers should ensure they are familiar with relevant guidance published by the awarding organisations they are working with.