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Many vocational students to get results based on previous work – UK watchdog

By Eleanor Busby, PA Education Correspondent

Many students taking vocational and technical qualifications will receive “calculated” results this summer based on their previous work under proposals unveiled by England’s exams regulator.

But some learners will not be able to obtain results until they can take an assessment when public health requirements allow it, according to the plans.

Ofqual has launched a consultation on its proposals for awarding vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) after exams and assessments this summer were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The watchdog has said a single approach to awarding all vocational qualifications is “not appropriate” as the landscape is “complex and large”.

Last year, more than 5.8 million certificates were issued to students who took more than 14,000 qualifications.

Under plans announced by Ofqual on Friday, many students will receive a calculated result based on what staff in schools and colleges think they would have achieved in their assessments this summer.

The judgments will also take into account the students’ former assignments or modules.

But under the proposals, students taking qualifications – which are used to signal occupational competence – would not receive a calculated result.

Ofqual said awarding results to these students in this way would not be suitable because it would not be clear they possessed the skills required for the job, which could have health and safety implications

Earlier this month, the watchdog instructed teachers to provide GCSE and A-level grades for pupils which reflect the results they would have achieved if the exams had gone ahead.

Schools and colleges have also been instructed to rank pupils within each grade for each subject.

Sally Collier, chief regulator of Ofqual, said: “It is vitally important that learners taking vocational or technical qualifications are not prevented from progressing in their studies or careers because of the unprecedented challenges this summer.

“We have worked quickly across the sector to develop an approach which gives awarding organisations the flexibility they need to deliver results for as many learners as possible during the current crisis, while ensuring a process which those who rely on these qualifications can trust.”