I hope that you and your students are keeping well, and are able to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning in these strange and challenging times.
I wanted to get back in touch to reassure you that we’re still working hard with regulators, government and other exam boards to make sure young people who were due to take our exams this summer get the qualifications they deserve.
Associations representing teachers, schools and colleges are also involved and are helping create a process that’s fair for everyone affected. As you’ll appreciate, this is a complex piece of work that isn’t quick and easy to do.
I’m pleased to say that Ofqual expects to publish detailed information about the process for GCSEs, AS and A-levels next week. This will include the steps for teachers to follow and detailed guidance on how to consider the full range of evidence available when submitting grades. Our customer service team will be available to answer any questions you might have about the guidance issued.
By Easter, Ofqual will also outline the process for making sure grades are fair across schools and colleges, as well as their proposals for appeals. If you haven’t already seen it, the Department for Education has published a useful set of questions and answers about the special arrangements for this summer.
We’ve been getting quite a lot of questions from private candidates who are understandably concerned about how the arrangements for the summer will work for them – and I realise that you may be getting these questions too. The sector is still working hard on this so, while I’m afraid we don’t have the answers right now, we’ll have them soon.
Just one final thing – I’m sorry if you’ve been trying to contact us and have had to wait longer than usual for answers to your questions.
Our customer service team is facing many of the same challenges facing many organisations right now, but they’re working hard to support you through this unprecedented situation. They’ll help you as soon as they’re able to and I expect them to be able to respond much more quickly next week.
You will already be aware of the decision not to proceed with the summer examinations in England this summer, following the announcement made by the Secretary of State for Education (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-colleges-and-early-years-settings-to-close) and the statement provided by Ofqual (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-a-further-statement) on Wednesday March 18.
We are committed to ensuring that learners receive a fair grade for their GCSE and A level qualifications this summer, and are working with Ofqual to agree the process to meet this key objective.
Today, the Secretary of State for Education (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced) has published a statement outlining the key aspects of the process, which will involve the use of teacher judgements.
Teacher judgements will be based on the overall qualification grade each learner is likely to achieve at the end of their course of study, based on their performance on a range of formative and summative assessments. Teacher judgements, for this purpose, are not ambitious grades that learners might aspire to achieve, but are the grades the learners would have achieved if the exams had gone ahead. We will consider the full range of evidence, including teacher judgements, to produce a final calculated grade to award to each learner.
We will be in contact with you no later than April to provide further details on how and when to submit these teacher judgements.
As these teacher judgements, along with additional information, will be submitted via our Secure Website, we will be in contact with the primary account holder (usually the exams officer) to provide further details. If the exams officer is not available, a member of senior staff at the school/college must also have access to the primary account holder details so that the information can be submitted to us.
We also offer a range of entry level, level 1/2 and level 3 qualifications. We are currently working with regulators on how we will award those qualifications this summer and will provide further information in due course.
We understand that this a particularly stressful time for our teachers and learners and that many of you have further questions you wish us to answer. We can assure you that we are working tirelessly to finalise our approaches and to ensure that learners, who have worked hard in preparing for their qualifications over a number of years, are treated fairly. We will publish some FAQs as soon as possible, which we will build on over the coming weeks to provide as much clarity as possible in these challenging times.
We wish to thank you for your patience and continued support.