Guidance for Private Candidates

This summer, there are two routes for private candidates to be assessed for qualifications. We explain in more detail in our guidance document.

If you have not already been entered for qualifications by a school or college (a ‘centre’), you can approach a centre directly.


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How do I know if I’m a private candidate?

You are a private candidate if you do not study at a school or college and are not entered for qualifications by a school or college. For example:     

  • You are a school age learner who iseducated at home by your parents or carers, or private tutors  
  • You are an adult who studies independently   
  • You are studying with a distance learning provider that does not offer exam entry.  
  • You are studying at school or college, but you are also studying for an additional subject that is not offered at your school or college, for example a language like Latin or Russian.  

As a private candidate, what do I need to do to enter for assessments for qualifications offered by WJEC?

Every private candidate will have access to Wales-only approved qualification grades this summer.  

For Wales-only GCSEs, AS and A levels, and Skills Challenge Certificate offered by WJEC, a registered school, college or other educational centre will need to agree to enter you for your qualification. Some people will already know a school or college, others will not. There are slightly different arrangements for these two situations: 

  • If you already know a school or college then you should continue as planned. 
  • If you do not know a school or college, you will need to find a host centre from an approved list published by Welsh Government.   

Further information can be found in our guidance document.

What do I do if I already have a relationship with a school or college?

If you already know a school or college and you have already been entered for a qualification as a private candidate – and your original centre has confirmed it is still willing to carry on with your assessment - then that can continue as planned. You should not swap centres.  

What do I do if I have NOT yet established a relationship with a school or college?

If you do not know a school or college, you will be able to find one that will enter private candidates in your region of Wales on a  list  published by Welsh Government. You will be able to approach these host centres directly and they will then enter you for your qualification with WJEC. 

When is the latest I can enter for my qualification?

If you have not yet been entered, then a centre can enter you for a qualification with  WJEC  up to 26 April 2021. 

After  this date, entries  will  generally not be accepted. However, if you already have a relationship with a centre you  may be accepted at its discretion if there is enough time for  your  assessments to be completed. A  late entry fee  will  then  apply.  

How will I be assessed?

This year, assessment will be via Centre Determined Grade(s). If you already have a relationship with a centre, then your Centre Determined Grade(s) will be produced in the same way as for learners who attend the school or college.   

If you do not yet have a relationship with a centre, once you have found one that has agreed to enter you, you will  go to  the school or college site to complete some of the required assessments and submit a portfolio of work (which may include work already completed).   WJEC’s examiners will mark your work, following the same guidance used by schools and colleges, to produce your grade.  

What if I’m doing a qualification offered by a different awarding body, ie, not WJEC?

Separate arrangements are in place for learners taking GCSEs, AS and A levels offered by AQA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC Eduqas. Ofqual and the Department for Education in England have agreed the approaches to be taken. 

The Joint Council for  Qualifications (JCQ) has  published  Interim Guidance for Private Candidate Centres  wanting to enter for these qualifications  on its website along with a  list of centres   that  will make entries for private candidates.   The majority of these centres are in England. Some centres in Wales may also be willing to enter private candidates for these qualifications and you should contact your nearest centre(s) directly about this. 

Private candidates will also be able to ask  certain  organisations, such as  distance learning providers,  to  make entries for them and carry out the necessary assessment of their work.  

An example of such an organisation  is  Tutors and Exams ,  which can  enter  private  candidates and assess them in  a way that meets the requirements of  the relevant awarding body.   There are also other  distance learning providers  in the list of centres  on the JCQ website.   

Private candidates in Wales taking non approved general qualifications will be able to receive support via the Department of Education grant – provided there is not a centre in Wales to take them and that they are not receiving any other financial support towards their qualifications. More information on eligibility is available here.

There is  only  a  limited  period  of time  left for  these  organisations  to accept  entries  since they  need to put in place processes to allow them to assess you and produce a grade. 

How can I appeal my grade if I’m not satisfied with it?

Once your provisional grade has been shared with you by your centre you will be able to request a review of your grade, if you choose to. If you are on the centre-assessed route, this will be carried out by the school or college. If you are on the centre-hosted route, this will be carried out by WJEC. There is further information on the appeals process on our website.  

How do I get my results?

Your centre will share your provisional results with you. Your results will be released to you by your centre on Results Day. Results Day is Tuesday 10 August 2021 for AS/A levels and Thursday 12 August 2021 for GCSEs. 

What does Qualifications Wales do?

If you haven’t heard of us before, Qualifications Wales make sure that qualifications and the qualifications system effectively meet the needs of learners in Wales. This includes making sure that awarding bodies, such as WJEC, create exams and assessments in an appropriate way and to a high standard.  

What will happen if the public health situation changes?

Qualifications Wales, Welsh Government, WJEC and local authorities will  continue  to  work together to make sure that you are informed if assessment arrangements change.   

Where can I go for further help and information?

Further information for private candidates can be found in our Guidance for centres entering private candidates. There is also more detailed information in our Alternative arrangements for assessment in summer 2021 guidance, as well as information for learners on the Qualifications Wales website as well as on the Welsh Government website