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Vocational Education: Qualifications

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL6187, tabled on 25 June 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they (1) have, and (2) plan to, put in place to ensure that students studying vocational and other equivalent qualifications are able to complete their qualifications in the same way as those studying for GCSEs and A-Levels.

Answered on

9 July 2020

It is imperative that as many students as possible receive their results this summer so they can progress to their next steps in education or employment. The department has been working closely with Ofqual, the qualifications regulator, to agree how this can be achieved, in light of the disruption to teaching and cancellation of examinations and assessments this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ofqual has published its framework for the awarding of results for vocational and technical qualifications, which sets out what awarding organisations must do to provide results for students who were due to take assessments this summer. Ofqual and awarding organisations are working with schools, colleges and other providers to implement these measures. The framework is available here:

Results for vocational qualifications that are used for progression into further or higher education, such as Technical Awards and Applied General qualifications, should wherever possible be calculated in line with the approach for GCSEs, AS and A levels. For other vocational qualifications, such as those that are used for entry into employment where demonstration of practical competence is necessary, it may not be appropriate to calculate a result. For these, adapted assessments will be delivered and Ofqual is working with the awarding organisations and centres to deliver these assessments wherever possible this summer. Only as a last resort should assessments be delayed into the 2020/21 academic year.

An appeals process will be in place for students who believe that the assessment process was not followed correctly. Students who feel their result does not reflect their ability will be able to sit an assessment at the next available opportunity. An autumn assessment series for GCSE and A levels will be delivered in 2020. Ofqual has published its plans for this in response to its consultation, and Ofqual is working with awarding organisations to agree arrangements for autumn assessment opportunities for vocational and technical qualifications where appropriate. The department will issue further guidance on the autumn series in due course.

Ofqual has also published proposals for GCSE, AS and A level exams, and VTQ assessments for the 2020/2021 academic year, which are available here: