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Assessments: Fees and Charges

Question for Department for Education

UIN 169066, tabled on 15 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure adequate provision is made for private students to sit exams or be graded at a minimum cost to families.

Answered on

23 March 2021

The Department and Ofqual have ensured there is a clear and accessible route for private candidates to receive a grade this year, at the same time as other candidates.

Private candidates can work with a centre to be assessed on a range of evidence, which could include evidence from an established educational provider and the board-provided assessment materials. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has issued guidance for centres about assessing private candidates, taking into account their different circumstances. These candidates should have the same opportunity as other candidates to be assessed on what they were taught, and centres can conduct assessments remotely if needed. Further guidance on assessing all candidates (including private candidates) will be published before the end of March 2021.

The Department is working with the sector to ensure there are enough centres available to support private candidates, and JCQ will publish a list of available centres by the end of March, giving private candidates the opportunity to find a centre at a similar cost to a normal year. The exam boards have committed that private candidates will not be charged late fees if entries are received by 26th April 2021. To support centres with the particular additional requirements of assessing private candidates this year, especially given they will not have been taught alongside a wider cohort, and avoid the cost being passed on to candidates, we are providing additional funding for centres. Centres can claim £200 per private candidate entry. We encourage all available exams centres to help these candidates achieve their qualifications in this exceptional year.