Antoinette Sandbach - Eddisbury Liberal Democrats

COVID-19: Update on vocational and technical qualifications and apprenticeships

Following the Secretary of State for Education's announcement that summer examinations have been cancelled in order to help fight the spread of COVID-19, he has now issued further guidance to Ofqual setting out when calculated grades will be appropriate, how they will operate, appeal rights and autumn exams. 

For those undertaking apprenticeships, the Government have issued guidance for employers, apprentices and providers of apprenticeship training and assessment.

Vocational and Technical Qualifications

Ofqual's priority is that young people and adult learners enrolled on such qualifications are not disadvantaged with respect to their peers in the same cohort taking GCSEs, AS and A Levels and are able to progress to the next stage of their lives without undue interruption. 

Calculated result

For qualifications which are principally used for progression to further or higher education, including BTEC Nationals, Cambridge Technicals, UAL Diplomas, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Pre-U, qualifications included under the umbrella term 'Core Maths' and Functional Skills qualifications, will receive a calculated result

It is anticipated that this will apply to students who would have expected to have completed their assessments and/or received certificates between March and the end of JulyThose being assessed on modules in the first year of a two-year course are also likely to be provided with a calculated result

Schools, colleges and training providers will be asked to send assessment organisations the following information, based on the teacher's/trainer's/tutor's knowledge of a student's work and their achievements:

  • the grade they believe the student was most likely to get if assessments had taken place as planned in summer 2020;
  • for some qualifications, the calculated result will be for the whole qualification.  For others, it will be for uncompleted modules or units. 
  • for some qualifications, the order of students at the school, college or training provider by performance.

Teachers/trainers/tutors will take into account the full range of available evidence when determining the result, including assessment results in modules already completed, and the student's general progress during the course.

Issuing of calculated results and appeal rights

  • It is expected that calculated results will be issued at the same time as GCSE, AS and A Level results.
  • Calculated results will have equal status to the assessment results awarded in other years and will be treated in this way by universities, colleges and employers.
  • There will be a right of appeal, where appropriate, and Ofqual are currently considering whether additional guidance is required to take account of the exceptional circumstances arising from the COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • Students who are disappointed with their calculated result will also have the opportunity to complete an assessment at the next available opportunity.  Awarding organisations may offer additional assessment windows to facilitate this. 

For qualifications which are principally used for progression to and through employment, where possible a calculated result will be provided.  Where this is not possible, or appropriate, awarding organisations are being asked to consider adaptions to assessments or delivery models.  

For qualifications which are used to evidence occupational competence or function as a licence to practise, calculated results may not be safe or meet employers’ requirements, and there is unfortunately likely to be no option other than to wait until normal assessments can happen again.  

For further information, please see:

 

Apprenticeships

The Government has issued detailed guidance setting out new measures and temporary flexibilities which are being introduced to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way if they need to, or to break and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible.

The new measures include:

  • introducing flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training, as long as it does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, their employer
  • encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable
  • allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible in order to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices
  • clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled.  Apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment timeframe
  • enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning, where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than 4 weeks
  • clarification on how to record breaks in learning so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted
  • confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is our ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks

The new measures apply immediately and will continue until further notice.

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