Following our campaign with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Modern Languages, Ofqual responded to the following questions put by Baroness Jean Coussins in parliament on 30 April:
HL3763: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether supplementary schools which are (1) registered as community language examination centres, and (2) not registered as community language examination centres, have been informed that they can provide their language students with teacher assessments and predicted grades on the same basis as mainstream schools.
On 3 April, we published our Guidance for GCSEs, AS and A level awarding: summer 2020. As highlighted within the guidance, the information provided is relevant to all students and exam centres in England using GCSE, AS and A levels, Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ) and Advanced Extension Awards (AEA) in maths regulated by Ofqual and offered by AQA, OCR, Pearson, WJEC Eduqas, ASDAN and City & Guilds. This includes supplementary schools that are registered as exam centres, where they have entries for such qualifications. Exam boards will ask exam centres to generate, for each subject, centre assessment grades for their students, and then to rank order the students within each of those grades. Where supplementary schools are not exam centres, the guidance produced would not apply and those centres would be unable to submit centre assessment grades for candidates studying with them. In this case, students would need to be entered as private candidates at a registered exam centre, as would be the case in any normal year where students would be sitting examinations.
When we published our Information document on 3 April we said that exam boards can issue calculated grades to private candidates for whom the head of an exam centre can confidently submit a centre assessment grade and include the student in their centre’s rank order. On 30 April, exam boards published further guidance to support Heads of Centre making judgements about private candidates, and we published an update to our own Information.Sally Collier, Chief Regulator Ofqual
On 5th May, Ofqual also updated their guidance following consultation on who should be allowed to receive Centre Assessed Grades. “Having considered the responses to the consultation we have decided that students of any age and in any year group who had been entered to take exams this summer will be able to receive a calculated grade on the same basis as other students this summer.“
HL3764: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether students studying for GCSEs in a foreign language at a supplementary school will be eligible to sit the examination in the Autumn if they have been unable to do so this summer due to COVID-19.
Baroness Berridge, the Department for Education, provided the following answer on 15 May: “We are working with the independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, and the exam boards to ensure that students have the opportunity to sit exams in the autumn. This includes those who have studied at supplementary schools. Ofqual will be consulting on proposed arrangements.”
NRCSE is hearing, however, that many candidates receiving their language tuition at supplementary school have been withdrawn from the Summer 2020 series. Where fees were paid these should already have been reimbursed. However, this has been done without clear guidance as to whether the student will be able to take the exam in the Autumn term or will have to re-register for the Summer 2021 examination series. NRCSE has already made the point why students entered for a ‘community’/heritage language generally take the exam in Yr 10 or earlier, we all need to make this point again to ensure that ALL languages are available for examination in Autumn 2020.