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Closures January 2021 - Guidance and next steps

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Written by
UAL Awarding Body
Published date
06 January 2021

Government has recently announced that all schools and colleges in England must move to remote learning until at least February 2021. Similar guidance also exists with variations across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We understand that teaching staff, students and parents will be concerned about this and the impact on student learning. You will also have many questions about assessment, moderation of work and ensuring fairness for students in these circumstances.

The cancellation of exams applies to GCSE and A Level. We are awaiting further clarification and guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual regarding Vocational and Technical Qualification (VTQ) assessments. We are working with the Federation of Awarding Bodies and other awarding organisations to seek this clarification.

The majority of our qualifications do not finish with a summer exam. This is helpful in the current circumstances as we are better positioned to make reliable and informed assessment judgements about student performance. For the few qualifications in our portfolio that do end with a controlled assessment, we have also been able to introduce additional guidance and flexibility.

In view of this, we expect our existing adapted delivery guidance to provide centres and students with most of the flexibilities required to support teaching, learning and assessment. We will, however, be reviewing, updating and supplementing this in line with emerging guidance from regulators and government. In particular we plan to issue further guidance on:

  • The ratio of remote and face-to-face delivery permitted by DfE, Ofqual and other regulators
  • Requirements regarding final major project units
  • Digital moderation and provision of qualification grades
  • Contingencies, should preferred approaches not be possible.

UAL Awarding Body intends to publish fuller guidance for centres to support creating and presenting evidence for digital moderation, however in view of the recent announcements we will now delay this for a few days in order to take account of the new situation. We need further guidance from government and regulators in order to do this and will update centres as soon as possible.

This is an anxious time for centres, students and parents. As with the situation last year, our priorities are to ensure fair, reliable and meaningful results can be awarded this year. We will seek to minimise the burden on our centres, balancing practicalities with the well-being of all concerned.

We hugely appreciate the efforts of educators and students at this time. As with previous lockdowns we will work collaboratively with centres to ensure that no groups of students are disadvantaged or treated unfairly in this situation. Despite the challenges ahead we look forward to delivering consistent standards that reward the hard work of students this year.

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