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Coro­n­avirus — Fur­ther infor­ma­tion for stu­dents study­ing voca­tion­al and tech­ni­cal qualifications

This information was last updated on Tuesday 23rd November 2021 at 9:16am

The Government’s plans for the award­ing of grades this year have been updat­ed since it announced that schools and col­leges would re-open on the 8th March.

In Eng­land, A Lev­els, AS lev­els, GCSE exams and BTEC exter­nal exams will not take place and instead, stu­dents will receive teacher-assessed grades.

Ofqual have issued the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion for stu­dents study­ing Voca­tion­al and Tech­ni­cal Qualifications:

VTQ stu­dents — get­ting your results this summer

The con­tin­u­ing pan­dem­ic has led to some exams and assess­ments being can­celled in 2021. All parts of the edu­ca­tion sys­tem are work­ing togeth­er to ensure that learn­ers are still able to get their results and car­ry on with their lives, whether that is to con­tin­ue with their edu­ca­tion, fur­ther their career, or go into the workplace. 

We appre­ci­ate that this is an enor­mous­ly stress­ful time for learn­ers – there has been a great deal of uncer­tain­ty, and many will have missed out not just on teach­ing and learn­ing, but on the sup­port offered by face-to-face con­tact with fel­low stu­dents, friends, and family. 

The way that voca­tion­al and tech­ni­cal qual­i­fi­ca­tions (VTQs) will be award­ed in 2021 allows for the chal­lenges that are unique to this year – such as the fact that many stu­dents will have missed teach­ing and learn­ing due to mul­ti­ple lock­downs, so not all will have cov­ered all the con­tent, espe­cial­ly those on 2‑year aca­d­e­m­ic courses. 

For those qual­i­fi­ca­tions that are most like GCSEs, AS and A lev­els teacher judge­ment will play a cen­tral role, more so in some qual­i­fi­ca­tions than oth­ers. For qual­i­fi­ca­tions that require a demon­stra­tion of occu­pa­tion or pro­fes­sion­al com­pe­tence /​proficiency, exams and assess­ments will still go ahead this year either remote­ly, or in per­son where it is safe to do so. 

These arrange­ments are not a per­fect sub­sti­tute for you being able to study and get assessed as you would in an ordi­nary year, but they will enable you to be award­ed a qual­i­fi­ca­tion and to progress in your learn­ing or employment. 

What does this mean for you?

This means that the way in which you receive a grade this year will depend on the type VTQ you are taking. 

Qual­i­fi­ca­tions that are sim­i­lar to GCSEs, AS or A levels

If you are study­ing for a qual­i­fi­ca­tion that is sim­i­lar to, or tak­en along­side GCSEs, AS or A lev­els, then you will be eli­gi­ble for a teacher assessed grade. This will require your teacher or lec­tur­er to make an informed judge­ment on your result using a vari­ety of evi­dence, such as per­for­mance of tasks or assess­ments that have already been com­plet­ed. These judge­ments will be qual­i­ty assured with­in your col­lege or train­ing provider, and then by the award­ing organ­i­sa­tion that you are reg­is­tered with before you get your result. 

Exam­ples of these types of qual­i­fi­ca­tion are BTECs (Pear­son) and OCR Cam­bridge Tech­ni­cals, in sub­jects such as Busi­ness, Dig­i­tal Media and Health & Social Care. 

You should receive your results in line with stu­dents who are study­ing for GCSEs, AS and A levels. 

Qual­i­fi­ca­tions that require a demon­stra­tion of occu­pa­tion or pro­fes­sion­al com­pe­tence or proficiency

If you are study­ing for a qual­i­fi­ca­tion that that requires a demon­stra­tion of occu­pa­tion or pro­fes­sion­al com­pe­tence or pro­fi­cien­cy, then you will need to be assessed on your prac­ti­cal skills before you can get your cer­tifi­cate and progress to the workplace. 

Assess­ments for these types of qual­i­fi­ca­tions should be con­tin­u­ing where pos­si­ble, although your assess­ment may be held in slight­ly dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances to nor­mal (using remote assess­ment for exam­ple) or may be adapt­ed in anoth­er way. Or your assess­ment may need to be delayed until it can be car­ried out safe­ly in line with pub­lic health guidance. 

Exam­ples of these types of qual­i­fi­ca­tion are plumb­ing, accoun­tan­cy, per­form­ing arts, con­struc­tion, and vet­eri­nary work. 

These arrange­ments will enable you to get a result that will allow you to progress. 

Qual­i­fi­ca­tions that are tak­en when you are ready to do

For qual­i­fi­ca­tions that are tak­en when you are ready to do so, such as Func­tion­al Skills and ESOL Skills for Life, there are three ways you will be able to access an assessment: 

  1. Assess­ments can con­tin­ue to take place, in a col­lege, train­ing provider, employ­er premis­es, school, or alter­na­tive loca­tion, where it is safe for them to do so in line with pub­lic health guid­ance. Tak­ing an assess­ment will enable you to get your results more quick­ly than going through a process that requires evi­dence to be gath­ered to sup­port a teacher assessed grade. 
  2. Assess­ments can be tak­en online in a wider range of venues, includ­ing at home. 
  3. Where nei­ther of these options is pos­si­ble, and you need a result to progress, then you may be able to receive a teacher assessed grade. 

This flex­i­bil­i­ty will enable you to quick­ly progress to the next stage of your stud­ies or employ­ment this year and not be delayed. It will also ensure that, if you need a Func­tion­al Skills qual­i­fi­ca­tion to com­plete your appren­tice­ship, that you will be able to progress and move into employment. 

Speak to your col­lege, train­ing provider or school about which options are offered by the award­ing organ­i­sa­tion that you are reg­is­tered with. 

Arrange­ments for pri­vate candidates

Award­ing organ­i­sa­tions are required to include pri­vate can­di­dates in their arrange­ments as far as possible. 

Learn­ers who were offered, or who sat, Jan­u­ary exams

For those VTQs most like GCSEs, AS and A lev­els, if you were absent from Jan­u­ary exams, or if you sat an exam but feel that your per­for­mance in the exams was 

adverse­ly affect­ed by the pan­dem­ic and the most recent lock­down, you may still be able to receive a result using a teacher assessed grade. 

Talk to your col­lege, train­ing provider or school about the arrange­ments being offered by the award­ing organ­i­sa­tion that you are reg­is­tered with. 

What you can expect next

Your teacher should soon be able to let you know what is hap­pen­ing with your qual­i­fi­ca­tion – whether you will be expect­ed to take your assess­ments, or if your results will be award­ed using teacher assessed grades. Please con­tin­ue to study in the meantime. 

The award­ing organ­i­sa­tion respon­si­ble for award­ing your qual­i­fi­ca­tion, such as Pear­son or OCR, will be con­tact­ing your col­lege, train­ing provider or school to let them know what they need to do so that you can get your result. 


Com­ing soon… Ofqual is col­lect­ing data from all award­ing organ­i­sa­tions about how results for each type of qual­i­fi­ca­tion will be award­ed and, in the next few weeks, will pub­lish this infor­ma­tion in an inter­ac­tive explain­er tool,’ that will be made avail­able at: https://​ana​lyt​ics​.ofqual​.gov​.uk/​a​p​p​s​/​A​l​l​Q​u​a​l​i​f​i​c​a​t​i​o​n​s​/​s​u​m​m​e​r​2020​tool/.

This will be sim­i­lar to the one that was made avail­able over the sum­mer and will help you find out quick­ly how results for your qual­i­fi­ca­tions will be award­ed this year.