Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the complexity and fast-changing nature of the situation, these are updated regularly.

Bookmark this page, and if you have any questions not covered here please email comms@qualificationswales.org and we will try to answer them.

Statement from Qualifications Wales following the Minister's direction on the approach for summer 2021 – 20 January 2021

Who will award my grade?

Your final grade in each subject will be determined by your school or college, who will tell WJEC the grade. WJEC will issue your GCSE, AS or A level certificate, which will show your grade as in other years.

How will teachers and lecturers determine grades?

Schools and colleges will award your GCSE, AS or A level grades in summer 2021. They will award these grades based on pieces of work that you have completed over the course of study, in line with the guidance to them. 

Your teachers and lecturers will use the guidance to determine your overall grade by considering your performance in a few assessments.  

Your school or college will be able to choose the pieces of work that they use to inform their judgement. They will share this information with you and the approach they will be taking to come to their final judgements about the grades you will receive. 

Your school or college will have plans to make sure their judgements to determine your grades are as fair and objective as possible. And there will be guidance and training available to support them with this. 

What will the WJEC assessment materials be like?

WJEC has already adapted the assessment requirements for summer 2021 to reflect the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning.  WJEC will reflect these changes in a range of adapted assessment materials to give schools and colleges as much choice as possible.  Schools and colleges will be able to use these as they see fit without rules being imposed by WJEC.

When are GCSE and AS/A Level results days?

Results days have been confirmed as 10 August for AS and A Level and 12 August for GCSEs. Wales results days mirror the approach in England and Northern Ireland. 

Are the grades I receive before August my final grades?

No. Centre Determined Grades are provisional and are not confirmed until results days in August. This is because there are final stages in the quality assurance process to complete. After your school or college has submitted the centre’s grades to WJEC on 2 July, administrative checks need to be carried out in the period before results days on 10 and 12 August. WJEC will have discussions with some schools and colleges whose results are identified as atypical. Following any discussions with WJEC, it will be up to each individual school or college to decide whether or not to review the grades that have been awarded to their learners. WJEC will not change any Centre Determined Grades.

What happens if I think my grade is wrong?

There is a three-stage centre review and appeals process. If you think there has been an error determining your grade, the first stage is to request a centre review with your school or college. You must give a reason why you believe there has been an error in the determination of your grade.

The second stage is an appeal to WJEC (following completion of Stage 1).  You must give a reason why you believe your centre has made an unreasonable judgement and/or procedural error in determining your grade.

Grades can go up, go down or remain the same following a review/appeal.

The third stage (following completion of Stage 2) is a request to Qualifications Wales for a review as part of the Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS). This is to check whether WJEC has followed the required procedures.

You can read our full guidance here

What’s WJEC’s role in this process?

WJEC will provide support to schools and colleges by setting out the rules for assessment in an overall assessment framework and then quality assuring the plans developed by schools and colleges. They will also run checks to make sure that schools and colleges have implemented their plans appropriately.  WJEC will also provide a range of assessment materials, that schools and colleges can choose to use.  

What’s Qualifications Wales’ role in the process?

Qualifications Wales will amend the rules to allow WJEC to award grades in summer 2021. We are changing the rules as we believe this is the best way to award grades in the circumstances. We will work collaboratively with WJEC and others to implement this approach.  

Will universities and Further Education colleges accept my grades?

Universities across the UK are aware of the alternative arrangements for the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels this summer. Qualifications Wales is working closely with the Higher Education sector to make sure students wanting to progress to higher education are not disadvantaged due to the global pandemic.

Universities have been asked not to act on provisional grades, so if you are a learner in Wales hoping to study a course in Higher Education this Autumn, you are asked not to contact universities until your final grade is awarded.

If your final grades in August are lower than you need to access your chosen university course, don’t worry. It’s important to speak to your university and/or UCAS. Universities often accept applicants whose results are below their original offer. They will be able to advise you.

You can find out more on the UCAS website.

What happens if I don’t attend a school or college and would have entered as a ‘private candidate’?

Alternative arrangements were put in place to allow all private candidates to enter GCSEs, AS and A levels and Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications with a host school or college, if they had not already arranged entries with a school or college. We have published a dedicated section on our website for private candidates which you can see here

What will happen if I’m a Year 10 learner?

If you have completed the course and were going to be entered for the whole GCSE course this year, then you can be awarded a grade determined by your school. However, it will not be possible to take just some units of a GCSE this year, and we will need to consider what the assessments arrangements will be for those subjects next year. 

Will my AS grade contribute to my A level in summer 2022?

We’ve considered whether there is any fair way of allowing AS results from this summer to contribute towards A levels in summer 2022, but unfortunately there isn’t. Learners in Year 12 will be awarded an AS grade that teachers and lecturers will determine and will provide for progression into the A level course of study, and support UCAS applications. A levels are usually awarded by putting marks achieved in all units together (including AS units). There isn’t a fair way to use grades from the summer 2021 AS units.    

I am due to take my A Levels in summer 2022 but have been unable to complete my AS qualifications in 2021. Will I have to be entered for and complete all AS and A2 units next year to be awarded an A Level?

AS results from summer 2021 (and summer 2020)  will not contribute to the awarding of A Levels in 2022. This is because for summer 2020 and 2021 the AS qualification was based on an overall grade and therefore there are no marks that can contribute to the A Level qualification.  Learners who were taught the specification content but were not awarded an AS in 2021 will not be required to be entered for AS unit assessments to achieve an A Level in 2022.

What happens if I am studying for a vocational qualification?

Vocational qualifications (VQs) that are similar to an A level or GCSE​, such as BTECs, WJEC Vocational Awards and Applied Certificates and Diplomas  will be awarded a Centre Determined Grade or Teacher Assessed Grade based on a range of assessment information, in the same way as GCSEs and A Levels. You should receive your final results no later than those learners studying for A levels and GCSEs) (on 10 and 12 August). Provisional Centre Determined Grades will not be issued for vocational qualifications. For more detailed information, please visit Ofqual’s Summer 2021 Qualification Explainer Tool. This shows what's happening with vocational, technical, and other general qualifications across Wales, England and NI this year.

Full details about the awarding of vocational qualifications can be found on our website

I’m studying a new Wales-only Vocational Qualification in Health and Social Care or Childcare. Has my qualification been adapted?

City & Guilds and WJEC have put in place arrangements for learners completing the new approved qualifications in Health and Social Care and Childcare during 2020-21. These arrangements help to reduce the impact of disruption to teaching and assessment caused by Covid-19 and supersede the arrangements we announced on 24 April 2020. 

On 14 December 2020, we announced that the arrangements for the Core qualifications in Health and Social Care and Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development will be available to all learners who are expecting to achieve their qualifications before 31 August 2021.

Full details about the adaptations for the new suite of Wales-only qualifications in Health and Social Care and Childcare for 2020-21 can be found on the Health and Care Learning Wales website. 

I’m studying a Health and Social Care or Childcare qualification with “Wales” or “Wales and Northern Ireland” in the title. Has my qualification been adapted?

The awarding bodies offering Health and Social Care and Childcare qualifications for Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed consistent adaptations for learners completing during 2020-21. These adaptations supersede the arrangements announced on 24 April 2020.    

The adaptations, including a list of the relevant qualifications, can be found here. If your qualification is not included in this document, or if you would like to find out more about the adaptations, then please contact your centre or awarding body. 

I’m studying an Essential Skills Wales qualification. What are the arrangements for these qualifications in 2021?

The adaptations to Essential Skills Wales assessments that we announced in September 2020 remain in place. If you are unable to complete your assessment and you can’t wait to take it later in the year, then your centre will be allowed to use other work that you have completed to determine whether you have passed. The awarding body will issue your Essential Skills Wales certificate, which will show that you have passed as in other years. 

What is happening with Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications?

We confirmed (9 Feb) that the awarding of Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications will align with the approach for awarding GCSEs, AS and A levels in summer 2021.  

Find the assessment guidance for schools and colleges here. 

Where can we find more information?

Visit our Summer 2021 pages for the latest information. We’ll also share information on our social media channels. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Should I contact my awarding body directly?

Awarding bodies will be in touch with schools, colleges and training providers in the coming weeks to advise them on the information they will be expected to provide about their learners, and when and how it should be submitted. 

If you want to follow your awarding bodies latest updates, here are some useful links:

   

1st4sport Qualifications

 

AAT

 

Agored Cymru    Cymraeg

 

AQA 

 

Ascentis

 

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music

 

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

 

British Safety Council

 

Cambridge Assessment English

 

City & Guilds

 

EAL

 

Highfield Qualifications

 

LIBF 

 

NCFE

NOCN

 

OCR 

 

Pearson 

 

Qualifications Network

 

Qualsafe Awards  

 

Rock School Ltd.

 

Royal Academy of Dance

 

STA

 

Trinity College London

 

University of the Arts London

 

VTCT

 

WJEC   Cymraeg

 

YMCA Awards

 

 

My centre is offering some Ofqual regulated 9-1 GCSEs and A levels. Do I have to submit different Centre Policies?

If you have submitted a Centre Policy to WJEC for your Approved GCSEs and A levels you do not need to complete a separate Centre Policy for Ofqual regulated qualifications provided by AQA, OCR, and Pearson, and the Centre Policy, or equivalent, previously submitted to WJEC will be acceptable.

It is only necessary for Heads of Centre to outline their approach where the requirements for Ofqual-regulated qualifications differ from those pertaining in other jurisdictions, for example the requirement of non-disclosure of grades determined by centres to students.

What will the arrangements be for summer 2022?

Unless there is another significant impact from the pandemic, we are planning for qualifications to be assessed via non-examination assessments, where relevant, and exams in summer 2022. However, adaptations that fairly reflect the level of disruption faced by learners will be put in place by WJEC.

Whilst there continues to be uncertainty around the trajectory of the pandemic, we remain hopeful that exams can go ahead next summer with  these adapted assessments, but we will monitor the evolving situation and will have alternative plans for assessment ready to be implemented if there are significant periods of disruption.

What will the arrangements be for Vocational Qualifications in summer 2022?

Ofqual have launched a consultation with the Department for Education on arrangements for the assessment and awarding of vocational, technical and other general qualifications: 2021 to 2022. The consultation closes on 26 July.