Sector News

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Last week @Ofqual announced our plans for making sure students taking GCSEs, AS and A levels, as well as extended project qualifications and the advanced extension award in maths, get grades this summer. We published information for teachers, heads of department and heads of centre, a message to students and some guidance which gives answers to common questions.

Today we’ve also published a short film for teachers and another for students to help everyone understand the process better.

In summary, we’re asking schools and colleges to do 2 things for each of their students:

First, to make a judgement about the grade that each student was most likely to have achieved, if they had taken their exams in summer 2020. To do this, they will take account of all available evidence including school and college records, mock exams, and non-exam assessment (NEA) that a student has done.

Second, to rank each student relative to others for who they also judge would have got the same grade. For example, if they judge that 8 students would have been most likely to achieve a grade B at A level or a grade 4 at GCSE, they should rank those 8 students from 1 (the most secure/most likely to achieve the grade) to 8 (the least secure/least likely).

Those judgements should be holistic, based on the range of evidence that schools and colleges have. So students shouldn’t worry about one disappointing mock exam result, if their NEA work wasn’t finished or they haven’t been able to complete to their usual standard – or at all - any work set after schools and colleges closed. Schools and colleges should take all the evidence into account and come to a balanced view.

While schools and colleges do not routinely work in this way, teachers are highly experienced at making assessment decisions and evidence shows they can rank order their students with a high degree of accuracy. Many will already be familiar with ranking students where they do this in subjects with NEA.

Of course, there are some circumstances in which rank ordering will be more challenging – such as in large schools and colleges or in those where students are very similar in terms of performance. We are exploring with exam boards how more support can be given to these centres and we also welcome the professional leadership being shown in centres at this time.

The rank order is an important aspect of standardising grades across schools and colleges. It means if adjustments are necessary to account for more generous or harsh judgements, exam boards can make these more precisely, for just a few students, rather than whole centres or classes.

It’s really important that schools’ and colleges’ submissions are as accurate as possible – the standardisation process will detect overly generous or harsh judgements, whether unintended or otherwise.  We’ll be consulting soon on the principles that will underpin exactly how this will all work, so that the standardisation process is the best it can be in delivering the fairest outcomes.

Centre assessment grade judgements need to be made objectively. This is particularly important in addressing the concerns some may have about the possibility for bias in this process and its potential impact on some groups of students, or those with certain characteristics.

Our overriding priority is to ensure that students are rewarded for their hard work. We are sensitive to the research evidence in this area and we are working hard to make this summer’s grading process as fair as possible. We will shortly be publishing an equalities impact assessment of the approach we propose to take this summer as it is crucial that we consider the impact on protected groups in the current circumstances.

The centre assessment grades and the rank orders will need to be discussed and agreed within subject departments in schools and colleges, and signed off by at least two teachers, including the head of department. And before the data is submitted to the exam board, the Head of Centre will also need to sign off the grades and rank orders.

Teachers and heads of department know their students, and they are best placed to make these judgements. We know they are currently working in difficult circumstances and so we urge students and parents not to seek to influence this important task. Schools and colleges will not release grades or rank orders to students, parents or carers, so please don’t ask them to.

We think the approach we set out last week is the fairest in the circumstances. However, it is a new approach and so there are still some details to be agreed. Exam boards are working to adapt their IT systems to collect the data and we are working on the detail of the statistical standardisation approach.

A new approach means that some of our rules need to be changed to capture these unprecedented arrangements. For example, we have a rule that requires exam boards to award grades based only on evidence from exams and non-exam assessments, so that will have to be changed for summer 2020.

And we need to devise new arrangements for things like appeals, and the principles of statistical standardisation; to continue to explore alternative options for private candidates who need results this summer to progress and for whom a centre assessment grade is not possible; and consider plans for Year 10 students.

So we will shortly publish a detailed consultation on a variety of changes to our rules, and revised approaches, to deliver the fairest results for students in the current exceptional circumstances.

Ofqual newsletters

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Floyd Woodrow has a new avatar. 11 hours 12 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page