We’ve had further discussions with the Department for Education (DfE) who confirmed on 5 January 2021 that schools and colleges can continue to offer vocational exams, ‘where they judge it right to do so’. The DfE guidance for schools and colleges is available to help manage this.
We know this is a challenging time for you and your students and we will work to support you whatever decisions you reach which will depend on the circumstances of each school or college.
Our priority is to ensure students are not disadvantaged. We know students and teachers have been working hard towards the January exams and many will want to take the opportunity to sit them.
If your students do not take our exams this January, there are options:
- There may be an opportunity to take their assessment at a future date. If this is not possible due to arrangements still to be announced for this summer, we will work with the DfE and Ofqual to make sure they are treated fairly.
- If students were going to certificate in January, we will award a grade to a student if there is enough evidence, to help them progress.
If exams don’t go ahead at your school or college, you can withdraw entries and we will refund you. We will continue to engage with the DfE and with the regulator Ofqual on the approach to awarding all qualifications this school year so students taking different qualifications are treated equally.
Frequently asked questions
Why aren’t you cancelling the exams due to public health risks?
The Department for Education has decided that vocational exams should go ahead in January 2021 where schools and colleges judge it right to do so. We understand this will be a decision for schools and colleges and we will support them regardless of the decisions they make.
Why aren’t you cancelling vocational exams when the DfE has announced that GCSEs, A Levels and AS Levels are cancelled this summer?
The Department for Education has decided that vocational exams should go ahead in January 2021 where schools and colleges judge it right to do so. OCR is not able to cancel exams.
Should I withdraw my students from January exams?
Our priority is that your students are not disadvantaged, whether your students take exams now or whether you withdraw them.
The DfE has confirmed that schools and colleges can go ahead with vocational exams now ‘where you judge it right to do so’. If you and your students feel prepared for exams this month and it is safe to take them, please go ahead. These exams will provide evidence of your students’ performance.
If you and your students feel that your students are not ready to take exams next week or are concerned about safety, you can withdraw your students and they will not be disadvantaged. See our news story here about taking assessments at a later date and awarding certificates if there’s enough evidence.
Following the news about teacher assessed grades replacing GCSE, AS and A Level exams this summer, we are working closely with the DfE and with Ofqual on alternative arrangements which will include making sure students taking Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals are treated fairly.