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Response to DfE/Ofqual consultation conclusion


DfE/Ofqual Consultation (GCSE, AS, A level summer 2021 )

Following the conclusion of the DfE/Ofqual consultation on how GCSE, AS, and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021, Education Otherwise note the following key highlights:


1. There will be no national external examinations in the summer of 2021.

2. All student grades will be determined by teachers at schools, colleges, and approved centres.

3. Teachers will be responsible for assessing students based on a basket of evidence of their choosing; internal exams, online engagement, work submitted, class books, general data trend from KS3 etc.

4. Teachers will prepare and mark the material used to assess students. This can include internal exams.

5. Teachers are to assess students based only on the extent of the curriculum taught.

6. Private students will be treated as per students attending schools, colleges, and approved centres.

7. Student appeals will be based on challenging teacher judgement, and school, college, or centre administrative errors.

8. Results day for GCSE is 12th August, and AS and A levels the 10th August 2021.

9. There will be a set of 2021 autumn exams.


Given these key DfE decisions, the view of Education Otherwise is that it will be difficult to have confidence in the comparative value of awarded grades between education establishments and therefore students. This conclusion is based on summary points 3, 4, and 5; it is not reasonable to expect standardisation when key variables such as the volume of curriculum assessed, and assessment material differs between establishments and between students.


Private students, of which home educated students are part, will be further disadvantaged. This is because no provision is being offered to address, or even acknowledge, that as is the norm private candidates do not work with or through centres.


Further, given that private students’ qualifications can only be gained through association with a centre, as was experienced in summer 2020 some centres could grossly inflate their fees. The decision by the DfE that centres are now required to develop assessment material, manage the assessment process, and grade assessments are likely to be financially costly for private candidates.


Where possible we strongly recommend that private candidates should not seek qualifications for summer 2021, instead wait to sit external exams in the autumn of 2021.

25th February 2021