ASCL welcomes these proposals, and the fact that the Department for Education and Ofqual have accepted that adaptations need to be made to both general and vocational and technical qualifications this year, to recognise the ongoing impact of the pandemic. It is helpful that this consultation has come out earlier than last year, but disappointing that these decisions have again not been made in time for schools and colleges to plan their approach to teaching, learning and assessment for September.
The decision to delay confirming adaptions to the summer 2021 exam series (had it gone ahead) until the autumn term placed considerable stress, anxiety and workload on school and college leaders, teachers, students and parents. All these key stakeholders need to know the proposed adaptations before the start of the academic year.
Full response to consultation
Update 9 August 2021:
The outcome of the consultation was published by Ofqual on 6 August 2021 and confirms that exams and assessments for VTQs will return in 2021-22 and that TAGs will no longer be in scope. There will be arrangements for a few adaptations by awarding organisations but these must be agreed by Ofqual prior to publication to exam centres.
The key outcomes of the consultation and implications for VTQs in 2021-22 are :
- Category B qualification classifications will be withdrawn disallowing teacher assessed grades; awarding organisations will be permitted to make adaptations to their assessments and qualifications to assist mitigating the ongoing impact of the pandemic; minor changes will be implemented to the VCRF to reflect changes to appeals arrangements; VTQs, where approved, will be included in 2022 performance tables; functional skills will go ahead in 2021-22 with the full subject content across each level and T level exams and assessments will go ahead in 2021-22 in line with other qualifications.
- Contingency plans, beyond the adaptations already permitted will be considered by the DfE and Ofqual in due course.