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Cancellation of Post 16 BTEC and OCR National January exams

6th January 2021

We want to inform you of the College’s decision to cancel the January BTEC and OCR National examinations for Years 12 and 13.

As you may be aware, the Government and the DfE had confirmed on Monday 4th January that all vocational exams would continue despite the country going into a lockdown. However, very late yesterday the DfE confirmed it would be left to schools and colleges to decide as to whether these should go ahead. We have contacted the relevant exam boards today and Pearson responded by stating:

If your school or college decides not to offer vocational exams, we have agreed the following with Ofqual and the DfE to ensure that no learner is disadvantaged.

  • We will certificate any learner who is unable to take their exams and has enough evidence to receive a certificate that they need for progression.
  • Learners unable to take their assessment this January may be able to take their assessment at a later date. If that is not possible, we will put in place arrangements to ensure no learner is disadvantaged.

Based on this guidance, and the fact that many other centres have decided to cancel these exams, we felt that it was not appropriate for us to continue with the January examination season. We understand that students have worked hard for these exams, but the College was required to come to a decision which balanced the risks to health for the candidates, invigilators and supporting staff, alongside the potential benefit of a candidate sitting a public examination at this time. The key point, stated above by Pearson, is that no learner will be disadvantaged by the difficult choice we have been required to make.

Last year we had to generate CAGs (Centre Assessed Grades), and it appears that we will be doing something similar again this year for examination candidates. Pearson stated that learners are required to have ‘enough evidence’ to certificate. What this means is that schools/colleges will need to be able to evidence any work that a student has completed from their coursework units. It is therefore absolutely vital that students complete all their coursework units to the very highest level, because teachers will use a wide range of evidence when generating teacher assessed grades. Students must continue to fully engage with their teachers, act upon feedback and meet any deadlines set.

Despite the announcements today about A-levels and GCSEs, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future situation for vocational courses. It is of course possible that students may be required to sit the BTEC or OCR National exams in June. If these exams do go ahead in the summer, we will support students so that they are as successful as possible. We will update you with further information regarding how and when grades will be awarded once it has been clarified by the exam boards.

I would like to reassure you that we will do our utmost to help and support your child with their qualifications so that they can successfully move on to the next stage of their journey. A member of the Post 16 team will call your son or daughter as soon as possible over the next few days to answer any questions they may have to the best of our ability.

Thank you for your support in these challenging times and we wish you and your family all the best.

Kind regards 

Mr W Jenkins (Headteacher)

Mr D Dudley (Director of Post 16)