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Vocational and technical qualifications: awarding in summer 2020


Following the decision to close schools and not go ahead with this summer's exams, the Department for Education (DfE), Ofqual and awarding organisations have been working together to consider how best to assess vocational and technical qualifications intended to be taken over summer 2020. 

The complexity of the landscape for vocational and technical qualifications means a single approach is not appropriate. NAHT is working with the DfE and Ofqual on the details of how this will work, and we will make sure concerns are raised and dealt with to the best of everyone's ability.

Ofqual is continuously updating the following documents:

Ofqual publishes consultation decision on VTQ exams and assessments in 2021

On 7th September, Ofqual published a statementdecision  and analysis  in response to the first of two consultations on assessment and awarding of Vocational, Technical and 2020 to 2021 in light of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic.

Ofqual has decided to implement all the proposed decisions in their first consultation, including:

  • enabling Awarding Organisations (AOs) to adapt assessments and qualifications, where necessary, to free-up teaching and learning time; make assessments as manageable as possible; safeguard against future disruption and ensure the reliability, validity and standards of the qualification.
  • introducing a second version of the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF), the Extended ERF, to reflect this approach to mitigation and adaptation.
  • that there will be no provision for using calculated results
  • there will be no single approach for AOs, but statutory guidance will be produced to ensure a consistent approach is developed.
  • Ofqual does not expect the content of qualifications to be reduced, except in exceptional circumstances and only after engagement with stakeholders.


Ofqual has now published their second consultation on a draft version of the Extended ERF which addresses revised principles and the statutory guidance for AOs on adaption and special consideration. The consultation can be found here, and closes on the 20 September 2020.

Ofqual's blog on awarding VTQs in summer 2020

Ofqual has published a blog that sets out its approach to awarding vocational and technical qualifications in summer 2020.

Ofqual sets out guiding principles on mitigations for 2020/21 vocational and technical qualifications

On 2 July, Ofqual set out their guiding principles that will determine their approach to mitigations in relation to vocational and technical qualifications. This is to account for the lost teaching time and safeguard against any further disruptions in the coming academic year. The paper can be found here.

Discussions about these principles are ongoing and Ofqual plans to publish more detail in the coming weeks.

Ofqual's chief regulator writes to heads of centre where vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) are taken

Ofqual has published an open letter from its chief regulator Sally Collier to heads of centres where VTQs are taken. You can find the letter here.  The letter recognises the professionalism and flexibility that staff across the sector have demonstrated, both in challenging circumstances and with regard to the specific complexities that the extraordinary arrangements have brought. Her letter also aims to provide clarification and guidance on a number of matters and looks ahead to arrangements for the next year.     

Ofqual publishes consultation decision on awarding grades in summer 2020

On 22 May 2020, Ofqual published a statementanalysis and decisions in response to its consultation on exceptional arrangements for awarding vocational and technical awards. It has also published its extraordinary regulatory framework.

Ofqual has also produced a useful interactive tool to show the main approach for each qualification.

Pearson's proposed approach for calculating results for BTEC awards

Pearson has produced a short guide on its calculated results approach for the BTEC qualifications. Separate short guidance has been produced for BTEC Level 3/4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (FAD), found here.

You can access further advice from Ofqual on summer 2020 results for vocational, technical and other qualifications here

We will continue to keep members updated, but as the situation is rapidly developing, we advise members to check the relevant web pages for Ofqual and your respective awarding organisations regularly, which may include the following:



Last updated 14 September 2020