Ascentis Arrangements for Vocational Qualifications in 2020-21

Updated 16/07/2021:

Consultation on arrangements for assessing and awarding VTQs in 2021 to 2022

The Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual have published a joint consultation on the proposals for the assessment and awarding of Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs) and other general qualifications in 2021/22.

The government’s intention is that teaching, learning and assessment for VTQs and other general qualifications will go ahead in the next academic year. However, it is recognised that due to the significant disruption faced by learners, adaptations implemented by Awarding Organisations in the current academic year may need to continue in 2021/22.

The consultation is in two parts. In Part A, the DfE is consulting on potential impacts on equality of the government’s policy that all exams and assessments of VTQs will go ahead. Part A also looks at the need for further possible contingency arrangements that may arise in the event of further disruption, for example regional restrictions or lockdowns.  

Ofqual is consulting on its regulatory arrangements to implement the Department’s policy position in Part B of the consultation.  Awarding Organisations will be permitted to continue with adaptations implemented in the current academic year and make further adaptations where necessary and appropriate.

In line with the government policy, qualifications in 2021/22 will be awarded based on evidence from assessments and not Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs).

Ofqual and the DfE want to hear the views of learners taking all types of assessments, their employers, parents and carers, their teachers and trainers, college and school leaders and others who have an interest, including further and higher education providers.

Full details of the consultation are available on the government website: Arrangements for the assessment and awarding of vocational, technical and other general qualifications: 2021 to 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Associated VTQ documents, including changes to the regulatory framework conditions, requirements and guidance are also available from the following links:

Vocational and technical qualifications contingency regulatory framework, COVID-19 Conditions and Requirements – draft for consultation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Vocational and technical qualifications contingency regulatory framework, COVID-19 Guidance - draft for consultation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The consultation closed on Monday 26th July 2021.

Next steps

Ascentis expects to continue with the adaptations implemented this year, but we will confirm this position once the outcomes of the joint consultation have been published.

Ascentis Arrangements for Ofqual, CCEA & Qualifications Wales Regulated Provision

On Wednesday 24th March 2021, Ofqual published the ‘VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF).’ This new framework replaces the Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (EERF).

The regulators have confirmed that qualification assessments, including those on-demand, modular assessments for qualifications such as ESOL, English and maths should continue where possible, with or without permitted adaptations, subject to public health guidance and in line with the requirements of the qualification. 

For certain qualifications, the VCRF will permit awarding organisations to issue results on the basis of teachers’ judgements of learners’ performance, to be referred to as Teacher Assessed Grades (TAG) when assessments do not take place and/or when learners cannot complete all internal assessment as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic.  As part of the VCRF, Ascentis qualifications have been categorised into one of the following:

  • Category A qualifications: are those which offer a licence to practise and which confirm occupational competence. Assessments will continue where they are critical to demonstrate occupational or professional competence, proficiency or act as a licence to practise, and can be delivered in line with public health measures. Where the assessment cannot take place safely, it will be delayed.  These qualifications will not be eligible for Teacher Assessed Grades (TAG).
  • Category B qualifications: are those which are important for progression to further or higher study or into employment, where the issue of results should be prioritised. Learners taking Category B qualifications may be eligible for alternative arrangements under the new framework, which could include teacher assessment grades (TAGs). Results may be awarded for these qualifications where not all assessments have taken place as a direct result of the disruption caused by the pandemic. 

To find out how a specific Ascentis qualification will be awarded this year, learners and centres can visit the Ofqual online 2021 Qualifications Explainer Tool.

Ascentis guidance for Centres on the Vocational and Technical Qualifications Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF)

Please see the below guidance document and associated forms which include an explanation, eligibility and the process for Ascentis qualifications as part of the Vocational and Technical Qualifications Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF). 

Ofqual guidance for centres: awarding of vocational, technical and other general qualifications in summer 2021

A centre guide has been produced by Ofqual to support staff working in colleges, training providers and other centres. The guidance covers a range of topics, including Quality assurance, Appeals, Additional assessment opportunities, Cyber security.  Please access the document here.

Information for Learners

A student guide has been produced by the regulators which includes further information for Learners about how qualifications will be awarded in summer 2021, this can be accessed on the Learner page of the Ascentis website, here.  We also have a range of information located on this page to support learners, this includes information about certificates and policies relating to appeals and complaints.   

Ascentis permitted adaptations (1st August 2020-31st August 2021)

Ascentis have implemented adaptations to some qualifications to support with the impact of disruption to teaching, learning and assessment, and any ongoing disruption to or restrictions on the delivery of assessments, through the adaptation of qualifications and assessments. 

Ascentis have identified some qualifications where adaptations will be permitted in 2020-21. This will apply to the following Ascentis qualifications only:

Please click on the qualifications above to find out more information on the adaptations which are permitted by Ascentis.

These adaptations are in place for learners who are/were expected to sit assessments between 1st August 2020 and the 31st August 2021.

Where an adaptation is not clearly specified for a qualification, these must be delivered, assessed and internally verified in line with the normal requirements of the qualification specification and no adaptation should be made that compromises these standards.   

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact the Quality Assurance Team at qualityassurance@ascentis.co.uk

Access to HE Qualifications

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) have published the arrangements for Access to HE qualifications in 2020-21. Ascentis have communicated with Centre Coordinators regarding the outcome of the QAA consultation and arrangements for 2020-21. Please initially discuss with your Centre Coordinator if you have any questions. Your centres allocated Ascentis Quality Assurance Manager will be able to support you with any queries you may have throughout this academic year.    

Key Documents, Resources and Policies

Ascentis has a range of useful subject-specific resources to support all aspects of the delivery of our qualifications. For example, our brand new ESOL Skills for Life Handbook and Community Interpreting Centre Guidance. We have our Policies and documents to support the delivery of Ascentis qualifications.  These documents and policies are located in the Login Area of the Ascentis Website. 

EQA Activity

All EQA activity will be completed remotely until further notice. Your allocated Centre Quality Reviewer and External Quality Assurer(s) should have been in contact to discuss arrangements for 2020-21. If you require further information on EQA activity, please contact qualityassurance@ascentis.co.uk  

Contact Information and Support

Our Customer Support Team will continue to support you in 2020-21, our main contact number is 01524 845046 or alternatively please email them at hello@ascentis.co.uk

If you need to get in touch with one of our teams, you can contact them directly on the following emails:

Staff will continue to respond to their emails; this will be the preferred method of communication.

Your Centre

If circumstances occur which may further impact your learners please ensure that you inform us immediately so that we are better able to support you.   

Results and Certificates

Ascentis will normally process results and issue certificates within 4 weeks of the verification date, with the exception of Short Online Qualifications and Access to HE provision.

Access to HE

Ascentis will normally issue learner result slips and e-Certificates within 5 working days of the Final Awards Board and learner hard copy certificates, if requested, within 4 weeks of the Final Awards Board.

Short Online Qualifications

For classroom-based assessments provisional results are provided immediately after the e-Assessment. An hour after the e-Assessment the achievement list report can be run through QuartzWeb. Learner result slips and certificates will be issued within 10 working days of the e-Assessment.

For e-Invigilation-based assessments that have satisfied exam requirements, the confirmation of results and e-Certificates will be available in QuartzWeb within 5 working days. For any results that require further scrutiny due to potential breach of exam requirements, results will be released once reviewed by the Ascentis Quality Assurance Team. Learner results slips and certificates will be issued within 10 working days of the e-Assessment. To view our FAQ on e-Invigilation and remote assessments click here.

Centres have the option to receive e-Certificates only or hard copy certificates and e-Certificates.

If you have any questions regarding certificates then please email the Registration, Verification and Certification Team at operations@ascentis.co.uk

Enquiries

In the meantime if you have any questions, please get in touch with your usual contact here at Ascentis or contact us at hello@ascentis.co.uk

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