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NCFE’s approach to awarding for 2020-21

Since the spring of 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic has caused substantial disruption to teaching, learning and assessment activity in all parts of the education sector.  Throughout this time, we have done as much as we can to support you in mitigating the impact on learners’ attainment, certification and progression.

Ofqual consultations and NCFE response

At the beginning of January 2021, the Government took the view that it is not viable for external exams to go ahead for some Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs) and on 15 January 2021, Ofqual launched a consultation on alternative awarding arrangements given the impact of the pandemic on centres and learners – and the decision to cancel exams.

On 25 February, Ofqual published the outcome of the consultation, confirming that:

  • qualifications that are most similar to GCSEs, AS, A Levels and are important for progression to further study, higher education, or employment, can be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade, i.e previously prescribed assessments may be replaced with a Teacher Assessed Grade where those assessments have not been completed due to, for example, the cancellation of exams
  • qualifications which are used to enter directly into employment will not be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade because it is not possible to award these qualifications safely, reliably, and validly without the knowledge, skills, and behaviours having been demonstrated and assessed. They will continue to be assessed in the manner prescribed for each qualification by the awarding organisation – including whatever adaptations have been made to mitigate the impact of the pandemic
  • qualifications which are smaller and taken for mixed purposes (eg not like GCSE or A Levels in their structure, such as Functional Skills, Skills for Life), will continue remotely, or in person, in line with public health measures. These can be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade only where assessments cannot take place on public health grounds, or remotely.

Having confirmed the overall position, Ofqual then consulted awarding organisations on the technical, regulatory changes required to support their approach and has published the outcome of that consultation on 24 March, including requirements relating to:

  • the application, interpretation, and definitions of regulatory requirements for awarding
  • the adaptation of qualifications that can or can not be awarded through a teacher assessed grade
  • the determination of results awarded through a teacher assessed grade
  • the principles to be applied by awarding organisations for adaptations and teacher assessed grades.

In response to these consultations, NCFE has published a document, detailing our approach to awarding for 2020-21. This document has been updated on 24 March confirming:

  • NCFE’s approach to awarding in England for the remainder of 2020-21
  • further information on qualification categorisation – and our approach for each
  • guidance on Teacher Assessed Grades, including evidence requirements
  • details on quality assurance arrangements
  • information on results dates and post-results processes
  • and more.

Download NCFE’s approach to awarding for 2020-21


Useful links

For any further queries, please visit our FAQs here or contact our Customer Support team on 0191 239 8000 or via [email protected].

Our upcoming and previous webinars

- Quality Assurance Policy for Awarding for 2020-21 – Friday 16 April 2021 at 12pm - book now

- Your questions answered: approach to awarding for Technical Qualifications (TQs) – Wednesday 5 May 2021 at 4pm – book now

- NCFE’s approach to awarding for 2020-21  watch now

- Awarding approach to adaptations for EYE / EYP qualifications – Watch now


- Approach to awarding for V Certs – watch now

- Approach to awarding for Functional Skills – watch now

- Approach to awarding for Technical Qualifications (TQs) – watch now

- Support for centres: TAG guidance / judgement watch now

Download NCFE’s approach to awarding 2020-21

Download...

For any further queries, please visit our FAQs here or contact our Customer Support team on 0191 239 8000 or via [email protected]

For information relating to alternative arrangements specifically for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for 2020-21 please click here.