Approach to awarding for 2022-23 | NCFE | NCFE

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Approach to awarding for 2022-23

As we continue to support learner success in 2022-23, we want to keep you up to date every step of the way.

Adaptations and assessment arrangements for learners in 2022-23

In 2021-22, a range of adaptations was permitted by Ofqual for vocational and technical qualifications, including a large number of NCFE qualifications. At NCFE, we decided which adaptations were appropriate for our qualifications in accordance with Ofqual's Vocational and Technical Qualifications Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF). Some adaptations were in response to public health restrictions that are no longer in place.

Although previously published adaptations will cease to be active, we’re pleased to confirm that there are continued flexibilities in place to support learners who may face some degree of disruption to their education. These flexibilities and information on performance table qualifications are outlined in the drop-down menus below.

Performance table qualifications – resit opportunities

The DfE and Ofqual have confirmed that for performance table qualifications (PTQs), there will be an additional resit opportunity (‘two resits’) for external assessments, giving a maximum number of allowed attempts at an external assessment of up to 3 for some qualifications.

The ‘two resit’ rule applies to external assessments for Key Stage 5, 16-18 performance table Applied General, Technical Level and Technical Certificate qualifications approved for 2022, 2023 and 2024. For Key Stage 4 performance tables, the ‘two resit’ rule applies to Technical Awards counted in the 2022 and 2023 tables only.

Where an additional resit is still available, centres must work within the timetabled opportunities stated in our External Assessment Timetable.

Assessment opportunities where learners have received results based on teacher assessed grades (TAGs) and centre assessment grades (CAGs) do not count towards these resit opportunities.

The highest achieved grade will stand across all submissions, regardless of whether these are CAGs, TAGs or assessments and resits undertaken under normal circumstances.

For our new 2024 Technical Awards, which went live for registrations in autumn 2022, there are no adaptations or additional guidance as part of any ongoing adaptations.

These qualifications are linear by design and have a single external assessment which must be completed in the year of certification, alongside the synoptic project. There are no opportunities for resits, or to sit multiple attempts and carry forward the highest outcome for certification.

The first assessment opportunities for our new Technical Awards are scheduled for 2024.

Continued flexibilities for vocational and technical qualifications in 2022-23

The flexibilities outlined in the table below will continue to be in place to support learners this year.

Assessment area

Available flexibilities 2022/23

Internal assessments

Internal assessments can be undertaken remotely.

EQA can be undertaken remotely.

Alternative assessment methods or evidence are permitted.

Centre devised assessments are permitted (these are not permitted for controlled assessments, Essential Digital Skills Qualifications, Functional Skills and V Certs).

The use of digital solutions for the capture or storage of evidence​ is permitted.

We’ve partnered up with VEO, who offer a digital solution for video enhanced observations. VEO is a secure video online platform for recording and tagging videos. It offers a more efficient way to mark NCFE skills assessments, which can be undertaken remotely. VEO empowers learners and teachers by providing a simple and secure way to capture observation-based assessments, that saves time while preparing learners to pass skill-based assessments. The platform allows you to digitally record and mark practical assessments online and remotely. 

(VEO is not permitted for controlled assessments, Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (EDSQ), Functional Skills and V Certs).

To support with learning loss, we’ve developed free virtual reality online resources in the subject areas of pregnancy and nursery care, which can be accessed from the following links: 

Work placements

Removal of observation of skills via work placement where this is an optional part of the qualification.

Where the work placement is essential for occupational competency or license to practice requirements, the relevant content must still be delivered, and assessment criteria met. It’s not possible to award qualifications safely, reliably, and validly if key occupational skills have not been demonstrated and assessed.  

Use of simulation, witness statements, use of remote technology as assessment methods. A combination of methods should be used to create a robust triangulation of performance-based evidence for the learner.

(Not permitted for occupational competence or license to practice based qualifications).

Use of NCFE VEO – video observation tool to support with capturing remote practical observations​.

Use of VR access to support with learning loss / remote learning in certain subject areas.

Synoptic assessments

(Level 1/2 V Certs only)

Synoptic assessment flexibilities include updated assessment briefs which can be undertaken remotely if needed, removal of controlled conditions and removal of set dates for submission.

External assessments


Functional Skills paper-based assessments are available on demand, to offer additional flexibilities and meet individual centre requirements.

Option for remote invigilation for our online, on-demand external assessments.

Early Years Educator/Practitioner knowledge only qualifications

The Early Years Educator/Practitioner knowledge only option that was re-introduced in April 2022 to enable progression for learners who continued to face challenges with access to work placements in 2021-22, was withdrawn on 31 August 2022. 

Therefore, whilst from September 2022 the option to transfer to the knowledge option was removed, the option for learners to top back up onto the full qualifications continues to be available.

Changes to the external quality assurance process for 2022-23

From 1 August 2022, all centres started to receive an Annual Monitoring Review (AMR) which we hope will improve your experience of working with us. AMRs will take place each academic session between September and July, unless you’re a T Level provider (AMRs for T Level providers will take place between September to November).

We’ve introduced these reviews as a direct result of your feedback, as we understand that you currently spend a lot of time preparing generic information at every external quality assurance review. We hope that by removing these non-specific criteria from the external quality assurance review and covering this just once as part of an AMR, we’re able to reduce your administration and ultimately save you time.

Annual Monitoring Review (AMR) – what to expect and what it means for you

The focus of this review is to quality assure your management systems and administration, ensuring they remain compliant with our approval criteria. No learners will be sampled as part of this review, as this will be covered during our external quality assurance or moderation reviews.

Centres will be allocated a Quality Reviewer, who will conduct the AMR across all internally assessed qualifications. This means you only need to submit generic information around management systems and administration once a year.

Following the AMR, centres will receive a report from their Quality Reviewer and will be given an overall risk rating of low, medium or high, based on the evidence that was made available. Any actions for centres with a low or medium risk status will be checked at their next review during the following session. Actions for centres with a high risk status will be reviewed during an interim review before the end of the academic year.

The criteria used to determine this status is outlined in our User Guide to the Annual Monitoring Report.

Please note: This will not impact your Direct Claim Status (DCS) if you currently hold this. Also, you’ll still receive up to two external quality assurance reviews per group per session. These EQA reviews will focus solely on assessment and internal quality assurance sampling (rather than generic information covered under management systems and administrative arrangements / resources).

How will this affect current T Level providers?

If you’re a T Level provider, you may see a change in your allocated Quality Reviewer and there may be a change to your planned AMR date. Also, the contact for the AMR is changing to the Head of Centre rather than the Programme Contact for Technical Qualifications, to ensure all qualifications are covered as part of the review. Our Allocations team will be in touch if there are any changes and will confirm who your new Quality Reviewer is via email.

Every effort will be made to accommodate existing dates that are planned in – but if this isn’t possible, your Quality Reviewer will work with you to find a suitable alternative.

Further support

We stand ready to support you and your staff, and you can contact your dedicated EQA for further information. Our Customer Support team is also available to answer any questions you may have about this year’s arrangements – email us at [email protected], or speak to us on live chat.