Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Ofqual to introduce vocational qualifications results deadline [December 2022]

The press release issued by the Department for Education on 15 December 2022.

Reports on 2022 assessments reflect on unique year and present actions to secure timely vocational and technical qualification results for students in 2023.

Reports published today by regulator Ofqual provide a wide-ranging overview of exams and assessments in 2022. Ofqual also publishes an action plan which sets clear expectations for awarding organisations to help make sure all students receive their results when they expect to in 2023.

Today’s publications, GCSE, AS and A level summer report 2022 and Delivery and award of vocational and technical qualifications in 2022 include reports on regulatory activity to protect students and apprentices.

The reports cover Ofqual’s regulation of 14,000 vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs), 475 apprenticeship end-point assessments (EPAs) and 385 GCSE, AS and A levels.

Summer 2022 marked a welcome step towards normality, with the first GCSE, AS and A level exams and full series of VTQ assessments since 2019. In recognition of the pandemic disruption, students were supported by a raft of measures.

More than 6 million qualification results were issued to 1.2 million students who took GCSEs, AS and A levels. Between March and August 2022, awarding organisations issued approximately 725,000 results across 410 Level 1/Level 2, Level 2 and Level 3 VTQs in performance tables.

This was despite the risks to delivery presented by 2 years without a main summer series of exams or formal assessments, and the impact of the pandemic.

Overall, awarding organisations managed a similar number of incidents in summer 2022 compared to 2019. Some of these 2022 incidents were in relation to arrangements not present in 2019, such as advance information of some of the topics on exam papers.

Just over 20,500 students taking VTQs did not receive their results from awarding organisations when they expected. This included 12,346 Level 3 results and 8,573 Level 2 results, across 1,550 schools, colleges and other centre types. Ofqual publishes further data about this unacceptable event and the actions we are taking to minimise the risk of this occurring again in 2023.

Ofqual is putting in place:

  • a hard results deadline, by which point all eligible students will get their VTQ results from awarding organisations, underpinned by a term-time data checkpoint with schools and colleges
  • a dedicated 2023 VTQ Results Taskforce, chaired by the Chief Regulator, to monitor and coordinate the implementation of Ofqual’s new requirements

Ofqual will:

  • require awarding organisations to communicate more clearly with schools and colleges
  • promote better data sharing across the sector
  • host a new VTQ information hub that will be a single point of reference for key information for schools and colleges

Awarding organisations will:

  • provide new training and better support for the exams officer role

The 2023 VTQ Results Taskforce will be made up of senior leaders from key organisations from across the sector to support the safe delivery of results.

Ofqual Chief Regulator Dr Jo Saxton said:

“Our focus in 2022 was on taking an important step towards normality and providing an unprecedented package of support to students. The interests of students and apprentices are what always drive Ofqual’s decisions.

“Looking to 2023, I am taking action to protect students from the uncertainty and anxiety caused in 2022 by late vocational results. Today we are announcing an action plan as a step towards parity of treatment between vocational and technical qualification and general qualification students.

“The implementation of this action plan will be overseen by a new taskforce, which I will chair, which will comprise leaders from across the sector.

“Effective delivery of qualifications was only possible in summer 2022 because of the substantial efforts of teachers, school and college leaders, exams officers, exam boards and, above all, students, who showed remarkable resilience despite pandemic disruption to their learning.

“Where necessary, we took swift and decisive action to protect students and we will continue to do so. It is unacceptable for any student not to get their results when they expect and Ofqual will take action to prevent it happening again.

“Having worked in schools, I know how intensive the work in respect of vocational and technical qualifications can be. Today’s announcements are intended as the critical first steps in streamlining the process for schools and colleges.”

Further details are in the reports linked above. Ofqual is also publishing today official statistics on malpractice, the number of students requesting reviews of marking and moderation, and special consideration in GCSE, AS and A levels.

Ofqual’s analysis of the root causes of the results delays in 2022, as well as any recommendations for wider system changes to secure parity of treatment between vocational and technical qualifications and general qualifications, will be published in 2023.

Ofqual’s formal consultation on the implementation of the new results deadline will launch in the new year.