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Latest information and updates from JCQ

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For up-to-date information on the cancellation of the summer 2020 exams in light of the covid-19 outbreak, please click here

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) is a membership organisation comprising the seven largest providers of qualifications in the UK offering GCSE, A level and vocationally related qualifications: AQA, CCEA, City & Guilds, Edexcel, OCR, SQA and WJEC.

JCQ undertakes a wide range of activities, such as the publishing of national GCSE and A level results in August; handling enquiries from examination officers; and publishing advice, guidance and regulations on delivering examinations, including the following:

  • Access arrangements, reasonable adjustments, and special consideration guidance and forms
  • Key exam dates and timetables
  • Malpractice guidance and declaration forms
  • Past GCE and GCSE examination papers
  • Post-results services.  

NAHT meets with the JCQ regularly along with other school leader and teaching associations, and the JCQ awarding organisations.

JCQ appeals guidance for summer 2020 

JCQ has published its 2020 appeals booklet, which provides a helpful guide to the awarding bodies’ appeals processes, and supplementary guidance for centres on centre error appeals, including new guidance on what are the grounds for an appeal.

JCQ publishes instructions for conducting examinations in 2020/21

JCQ has published their instructions for centres on conducting examinations between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021. These instructions are produced to enable all centres to administer examinations consistently and securely and can be found here.

New JCQ guidance for centres on validating evidence for private candidate

Yesterday (30 April), the JCQ published new guidance on the validation of evidence by centres for private candidates.

This information includes details on the following:

  • evidence held by other centres
  • levels of confidence
  • centre validation process
  • retention of evidence
  • accepting new candidates

The guidance can be found here

Coronavirus and summer 2020 exams updates

The JCQ has released further guidance for schools and colleges to support the summer 2020 series. This builds on Ofqual's advice, which was released earlier this month providing further clarity on a range of issues including, but not restricted to, the following:

  • The start date for entering grades: the start date for entering Centre Assessment Grades (CAG) will be from 1 June 2020. Individual exam boards will be contacting schools and colleges with further information in the coming weeks – this will include the submission deadline
  • Conflicts of interest: Heads of centre are responsible for managing any potential conflicts of interest in relation to the submission of Centre Assessment Grades and rank order information. They must ensure records of a potential conflict of interest, and the steps taken to mitigate it, are retained
  • Transferred candidates: the current head of centre may wish to consult with the previous centre about the evidence they hold and may take this into account in reaching a judgement where they are confident to do so
  • Signing off Centre Assessment Grades and rank ordering: All grades and rank orders must be signed off by two subject teachers and the head of centre before submission to the exam boards
  • Private candidates: The head of centre needs to have an equal degree of confidence in the grade/rank order submitted for any private candidates as they do for the others. Where private candidates have studied with an approved centre but made their entry at a different centre, it would be sensible for the centre that holds most evidence of the candidate's likely achievement to take responsibility for submitting their Centre Assessment Grade and rank order, which may require the entry to be transferred from one centre to another
  • Malpractice: Any external pressure on schools and colleges, intended to influence the decision-making on a grade or rank order, must be reported to the exam board(s) who may investigate this as potential candidate malpractice. JCQ have now produced further guidance on malpractice in summer 2021.


NAHT would encourage members to read the update in full and get in contact with their exam board(s) if they have specific queries that are not covered in either this guidance or the information provided by Ofqual. 

JCQ has also produced guidance for centres on how to provide a single rank where they have split entries across awarding bodies for the same subject. The awarding body with the largest number of entries will act as the ‘lead’ awarding body and will coordinate the Centre Assessment Grade process. Awarding bodies will be contacting centres with more information on this process.

Latest JCQ information

  • The JCQ's consultation on banning all watches in examinations from the summer series 2021 closes on Friday 30 October 2020. NAHT has responded to the consultation, and you can read our response here
  • The JCQ has published a report into the findings of the Independent Commission on Malpractice. The Commission was established by JCQ because of concerns about the impact of the small, but often high-profile examples of malpractice, which can damage the reputation of the UK's qualifications system. The Commission found that the system in the UK works well and there is a very low level of malpractice. However, the report notes many ways in which the system can be improved, good practice encouraged and malpractice better prevented. The Commission has made a number of recommendations
  • In response to the publishing of Ofqual's consultation into 'teacher involvement in developing exam papers and other confidential assessments', JCQ and its member-awarding organisations that offer GCSEs and GCEs in England, Cambridge Assessment International Education, International Baccalaureate Organization along with NAHT, AoC, ASCL, and HMC have released a statement outlining seven areas on which they will continue to collaborate to strengthen the system and build on the actions already taken by individual exam boards. See the full details. 


Last updated 07 September 2020