iPET Network is fully open for business. It is our aim during these times that the team continue to provide our Training Providers the support they need. Our aim is to keep our Training Providers fully up-to-date with the way in which we will be awarding our qualifications during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below are the updates relating to our position and changes due to COVID 19.
Ofqual guidance for Vocational Assessments - January 2021
Learners should be supported to take assessments in January, where it is safe and if they are ready to do so, in order that they can demonstrate what they know and the skills they have acquired. We think it is crucial that arrangements help Learners continue to engage with education and learning.
You should contact your Centres to make it clear that assessments remain available to take during January; (where relevant) that Learners may be able to take assessments at a later date, and in the event that is not possible, arrangements will be put in place to ensure those Learners are not disadvantaged. You will need to consider whether it is appropriate for them to withdraw Learners from assessments if doing so would compromise their eligibility for later assessment opportunities or alternative arrangements.’
Please note this guidance is just for the month of January, we await further guidance for the coming months.
We understand that our Training Providers would like more clarity on whether, Training Providers should or stay open. Unfortunately, we cannot issue that information or advice.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the iPET Network team.
Information for centres
The continuing pandemic has led to some exams and assessments being cancelled in 2021.
On the 25 February, the government announced the policy and scope of awarding vocational and technical qualifications in 2021.
It was confirmed that:
• Alternative arrangements to written exams (similar to those being proposed for GCSEs, AS and A levels) are needed for those VTQs and other general qualifications most like GCSEs, AS and A levels. Many of these were subject to calculated results last summer, and it is likely that some form of teacher assessment will be most appropriate.
• Assessments for on-demand qualifications, such as Functional Skills or ESOL Skills for Life, can go ahead if in line with PHE guidance. Where learners are unable to access FSQ assessments, an alternative method of awarding these qualifications is needed to ensure these learners can progress
• Where qualifications are used to demonstrate occupational or professional competency or proficiency or to gain a licence to practise are necessary, then these assessments for these qualifications should continue when this is possible, subject to PHE guidance.
The Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF)
Ofqual has put in place the Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF) for Awarding Organisations (AOs) offering VTQs. These regulatory arrangements will enable AOs to be sufficiently flexible to support as many learners as possible to complete qualifications, whilst still retaining the integrity of their qualifications.
For qualifications most important for progression to further study or employment, the framework enables AOs to:
• make awards when exams do not take place and/or not all internal assessments have been completed;
• determine the most appropriate approach to awarding based on their qualification design and delivery;
• determine what the minimum assessment evidence should be, so that valid and reliable qualifications are awarded; this should include consideration of completed assessments.
• expects them to develop consistent approaches across different AOs, and qualifications, as far as possible; and
• requires them to provide clear and timely guidance to teachers, on how grades will be awarded and what they need to do, and be mindful of the burden they place on teachers.
Qualifications where teacher assessed grades won’t play a part in awarding:
• Occupational qualifications/ Qualifications used as a Licence to Practise/Professional qualifications - including Performing Arts Graded Examinations (PAGE).
Approach to assessment and awarding: Adaptations already introduced by the AOs can continue under the VCRF; further adaptations are permitted if they are necessary to address the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Qualifications where teacher assessed grades will play a part in awarding:
• VTQs/Other General qualifications, most like GCSEs, AS and a levels, which are important for progression to further/higher study or employment, such as: Applied General qualifications, Tech awards, Core maths
• VTQs that are important for progression to further/higher study or employment, but which include some assessment of occupational skills, such as: some Tech levels, other VRQs
Approach to assessment and awarding: For those VTQs most similar to GCSEs, AS and A levels, AOs are expected to take similar approaches to those used for those qualifications including the use of teacher judgement, appeals and measures for private candidates.
• VTQs that are important for progression to further study or employment, but which are not delivered in the same way as GQs and don’t share all the same key characteristics, such as: Functional Skills Qualifications (FSQs) and ESOL Skills for Life.
Approach to assessment and awarding: Assessments may continue where viable but where learners can receive a result through a teacher assessed grade where they cannot access an assessment.
What to expect from your AOs
Your AOs will be working on providing more information as soon as they can about where your need to focus teaching and learning, and the timeline (what to do and when), so that learners can receive results.
What your AOs should be able to tell you quickly
• Which qualifications will take similar approaches awarding to GCSEs, AS and A levels
• For which qualifications teacher assessed grades will play a part in awarding
• For which qualifications teacher assessed grades won’t play a part in awarding
• The approach to awarding for FSQs – that exams and assessments will continue to be made available
• To carry on with teaching and learning to support engagement in education
• The support that is available for centres now and going forward
• Where to find out information about your AOs’ Covid response
• How your AOs are working with other AOs/stakeholders to develop consistent approaches.
What your AOs should also soon be able to let you know about
• How centres should determine teacher assessed grades, including internal and external quality assurance; arrangements for results days; approach to private learners/candidates; deadlines to submit information; and any changes to adaptations.
FSQs, ESOL Skills for Life and other qualification taken ‘on demand’
For qualifications that are taken on demand, such as Functional Skills and ESOL Skills for Life, there are three ways that learners will be able to access an assessment:
1: Assessments can continue to take place, in a college, training provider, school, employer premises, or alternative location, where it is safe for them to do so in line with public health guidance.
2: Assessments can be taken online in a wider range of venues, including at home.
3. Where neither of these options is possible, and learners need a result to progress, then a teacher assessed grade may be used.
If none of these options are possible, the assessment may be delayed or the learners moved to a different AO.
Ofqual is collecting data from all AOs about how results for each type of qualification will be awarded and will publish this information in the next few weeks in an interactive ‘explainer tool,’ that will be made available on: https://analytics.ofqual.gov.uk/apps/AllQualifications/summer2020tool/
This will be similar to the one that was made available over the summer and will help you find out quickly how results for relevant qualifications will be awarded this year.
• How qualifications will be awarded in 2021 – an article from Chief Regulator, Simon Lebus
• Simon Lebus responds to the Secretary of State’s direction of 23 February 2021
• Consultation on alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other general qualifications in 2021 (Concluded consultation)
• Regulatory arrangements for the awarding of vocational and technical and other general qualifications in 2020-2021 (Live consultation)
Appeals and Complaints
iPET Network’s ambition is to ensure that no candidates are disadvantaged due to the current circumstances as a results of Covid-19. If you feel you have been disadvantaged during an assessment then please refer to your Training Provider Appeals and Complaints policy. For further information on iPET Networks policies please refer to the Quality Assurance section on our website.
Covid-19 Contingency Update June 2021
iPET Network have carefully considered the current risks of Covid-19, as we are slowly returning to business as normal after spending nearly 18 months under restrictions. Due to the recent new Delta variant of Covid-19 and the delay in restrictions being completely lifted, iPET Network have decided that all Training Provider monitoring activities (EQA audits) will continue to be carried out remotely until further notice. It is most important to iPET Network to protect it’s Training Providers and its own personnel. We would like to thank all of our Training Providers for their continued support and cooperation during these difficult times.
We anticipate that each Training Provider will have their own contingency strategy documents and a Covid-19 risk assessment in place to ensure where possible safe working practices are being carried out and that no candidates are being disadvantaged during these current circumstances.
As part of your strategy you may consider the following:
• Arrangements for assessment and IQA activities should staffing be reduced or Training Providers forced to close
• Access to learning and assessment materials remotely for candidates working from home or self-isolating
• Arrangements for providing samples for EQA
• Maintaining contact with us and reporting any concerns
If you are faced with a situation where there is concern then please contact iPET Network on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awarding of candidate certificates will continue as normal.