Plan for exams - February to August
Following the Ofqual consultation outcome, it was confirmed that, with some exceptions, external assessments will no longer be made available for the rest of the 2020-21 session where a qualification can be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade.
With that in mind, this web page sets out our latest advice on:
- external assessments in 2020-21 following the Ofqual consultation outcome
- resumption of assessment audits
- registering and withdrawing learners
- V Cert and CACHE external assessment bookings
- CACHE specific advice – adaptations for longitudinal study qualification components
- advice if you didn’t go ahead with January exams
- continuation of online on-demand assessments.
External assessments in 2020-21 following the consultation outcome
It has been confirmed that, where a qualification can be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG), and the qualification is most similar to a GCSE or A Level, that external assessments will not go ahead for the rest of the 2020-21 session.
For those qualifications that can be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade, but are smaller and taken for a mixed purpose, such as Functional Skills, external assessments will continue to be made available to be completed remotely, online, and in line with public health measures. Where this is not possible, a learner may be eligible for a Teacher Assessed Grade, and we are working with Ofqual and other awarding organisations to publish further details on this process shortly.
Where the qualification can not be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade, external assessments will continue to be made available.
We have updated our external assessment timetable to reflect the updated status of previously timetabled external assessments in the remainder of the 2020-21 session, and this can be found here.
Resumption of assessment audits
Following the national lockdown in January 2021 we took the decision to temporally suspend our Assessment Audit Visits due to centre closures and the additional challenges and disruption centres were facing.
Now that restrictions have eased and activity in centres has restarted, including external assessment activity for some qualifications, contact with centres regarding Assessment Audits has resumed. Due to the ongoing situation and restrictions still currently in place, audits will continue remotely via Microsoft Teams by an authorised NCFE representative. If you are selected for an audit your Head of Centre will be notified by email, giving full details of what is required.
An Assessment Audit has, as its primary focus, any external assessments undertaken by your centre. Your arrangements to ensure adherence to our relevant regulations are assessed as part of the audit ensuring that we can support centres in achieving compliance. As part of the audit, secure storage facilities for assessment materials will be reviewed, along with the location of the external assessment room, and invigilator training approach.
Please note, NCFE reserves the right to carry out unannounced inspections and/or observation visits to confirm our regulations are being adhered to and that centres have policies and procedures in place for the delivery of NCFE external assessments (for more information, please see our Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment).
Registering and withdrawing learners
We would like to take the opportunity to remind you of your obligations under our centre agreement which requires every learner to be registered in line with our requirements, so that each learner can be uniquely identified. This is particularly important this year given the impact of Covid-19 on assessments and learning, and is also a mandatory requirement from Ofqual. We would ask that you register any outstanding learners who are not yet registered with us, but who you were expecting to take an assessment this year or expecting to certificate in 2020-2021, and that you withdraw any learners who have been registered but are no longer on programme / completing the qualification. Registrations and withdrawals can both be completed through the Portal in the normal way, with instructions available within the Portal handbook.
V Cert and CACHE external assessment bookings
We’d like to remind you that it’s imperative that you make a booking for learners on V Cert and CACHE external assessments (where the assessments were cancelled for this session). We can confirm that a booking will be required in order for us to process a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG).
Many of you have already completed this process and we’d like to thank you for doing this so quickly. However, if you have any learners outstanding, please ensure you complete this booking as soon as possible. The sooner bookings are made, the more efficient the submission process will be to ensure all eligible learners receive an outcome from their cancelled external assessment. Read more.
CACHE specific advice - adaptations for longitudinal study qualification components
We have released specific guidance around additional adaptations to the longitudinal component of the following qualifications:
- NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) (601/2629/2)
- NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care (Early Years Educator) (601/2147/6)
- NCFE CACHE Technical Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care (Early Years Educator) (601/8438/3)
Please take a look at the individual qualification pages on QualHub for the most up to date guidance.
Advice if you didn’t go ahead with January exams
Consistent with Government’s advice, set-date, set-time exams scheduled to take place in January still went ahead for those centres who wished to continue.
If you decided not to go ahead with these exams, please be assured that according to Ofqual’s proposals, these learners will be considered as eligible for a Teacher Assessed Grade, where relevant for their qualification.
Continuation of online on-demand assessments
Where assessments for qualifications can take place online and learners are ready to take them in the coming weeks, assessments should continue as planned. For NCFE, this includes Functional Skills Qualifications, Dental and the following CACHE qualifications:
- Understand How to Set Up a Home-Based Childcare Service (CYPOP 5)
- the online, on-demand external assessment within the NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practice of Dental Nursing (601/2251/1).
For learners who are unable to access assessment in this way, alternative assessment arrangements will be put in place following the outcomes of the consultation.
If you decide not to go ahead with any of these exams, please withdraw your learners as soon as possible by contacting our Customer Support team on 0191 239 8000 or [email protected]. If you do receive exam papers for an external assessment which you later decide not to go ahead with, please ensure these are safely stored within your secure storage facility and not opened by anyone. We will be in touch with further instructions in this case.
Updated external assessment timetable
Take a look at the updated status of previously timetabled external assessments in the remainder of the 2020-21 session
Ofqual’s qualification explainer tool
Access this interactive tool to see how specific qualifications will be assessed and awarded, including which qualifications can be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade. You can then access the relevant page below.