FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding plans for the awarding of qualifications in 2021.

Due to the complexity and fast-changing nature of the situation, these are updated regularly. Bookmark this page, and if you have any questions not covered here please email comms@qualificationswales.org and we will try to answer them. 

Awarding 2021

Will exams be held in Summer 2021?

The Minister for Education announced on 10 November 2020 that there would be no exams for Wales approved GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications in summer 2021. 

Will January exams take place?

Unit assessments for GCSE Welsh Literature, English Literature and ICT have been cancelled. Other planned assessments will go ahead, see table below.

New Health and Social Care and Child Care 

  • Level 2 Understanding Children's Care, Play, Learning and Development Unit 1: Promoting health and well-being throughout the life stages 
  • Level 2 Unit 1: Promoting health and well-being throughout the life stages 
  • Level 3 Principles and theories that influence children's care, play, learning 
    and development in the 21st century in Wales 
  • Level 3 Unit 2: Factors affecting individuals’ growth and development across the lifespan and how this impacts on outcomes, care and support needs 

Legacy GCSEs 

  • Home Economics Child Development Unit 1 (resit only includes cash-in) 
  • Health & Social Care Unit 2 (resit only includes cash-in) 
  • Health & Social Care Unit 3 (resit only includes cash-in) 

Skills Challenge Certificate 

Other VQ exams please check with the awarding body.

 

Why are some planned assessments still happening in January?

The legacy GCSEs are the final resit opportunities for learners who have already achieved the qualification and want to improve their results. These qualifications are being withdrawn as they have been replaced by the new GCSE in Health and Social Care.

The Skills Challenge Certificate are qualifications that have no exams. The January series is an opportunity for units of the qualification to be submitted for moderation.

Examinations for vocational qualifications will go ahead as planned. The January series includes an opportunity for learners to resit qualifications or take examinations which they were unable to sit in summer 2020.

Will non examination assessments (NEA) be included in GCSEs AS and A Levels in 2021?

Yes, NEA will continue to be included in GCSEs AS and A Levels in 2020-2021 as indicated in our statement on 24 November 2020.  

When will we know how GCSEs, AS and A level qualifications will be assessed in 2021?

The Design Delivery and Advisory Group are looking in detail at the assessment model for Summer 2021 and will provide policy advice to the Minister for Education. The Minister has committed to this work being completed in the autumn term to provide time for implementation from January.

Who will decide how GCSEs, AS and A level qualifications will be assessed in 2021?

The Qualifications Wales Board will take the final decision on the assessment model for summer 2021 paying due regard to the policy direction that the Minister will set out after receiving advice from the Design and Delivery Advisory Group.

What will happen to private candidates?

Consideration will be given to all learners to ensure fairness in the qualification system. Whatever approaches are implemented, access to these qualifications for learners who are not enrolled in a centre will be carefully considered. Further details will be available in due course. 

In the face of the continuing uncertainty, is there any intention to make further adjustments to qualification content?

We continue to assess the impact of the pandemic and will keep you updated on our thinking. 

What changes are being made to GCSEs and A levels in 2021 to reflect the missed learning time?

In July we announced that qualifications will be adapted for assessment in 2021, in order to mitigate lost teaching and learning time and to assist schools and colleges in complying with social distancing guidelines. This is something that remains under review.  

What changes are being made to VQ qualifications in 2021 to reflect the missed learning time?

Awarding bodies will communicate to centres their planned approach to any adaptations to their qualifications for 2020/21, to assist in mitigating disruption to teaching, learning and assessments. 

QW will continue to work with other regulators (Ofqual in England and CCEA in Northern Ireland) and awarding bodies to award vocational qualifications fairly to learners in 2021.

I’m studying a new Wales-only Vocational Qualification in Health and Social Care or Childcare. Has my qualification been adapted?

City & Guilds and WJEC have put in place arrangements for learners completing the new approved qualifications in Health and Social Care and Childcare during 2020-21.   These arrangements help to reduce the impact of disruption to teaching and assessment caused by Covid-19 and supersede the arrangements we announced on 24 April 2020. 

Full details about the adaptations for the new suite of Wales-only qualifications in Health and Social Care and Childcare for 2020-21 can be found on the Health and Care Learning Wales website. 

I’m studying a Health and Social Care or Childcare qualification with “Wales” or “Wales and Northern Ireland” in the title. Has my qualification been adapted?

The awarding bodies offering Health and Social Care and Childcare qualifications for Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed consistent adaptations for learners completing during 2020-21. These adaptations supersede the arrangements announced on 24 April 2020.    

The adaptations, including a list of the relevant qualifications, can be found here. If your qualification is not included in this document, or if you would like to find out more about the adaptations, then please contact your centre or awarding body. 

I’m studying an Essential Skills Wales qualification. Has my qualification been adapted?

The four Essential Skills Wales awarding bodies (Agored Cymru, City & Guilds, Pearson and WJEC) have put in place arrangements for learners taking these qualifications during 2020-21. These arrangements help to reduce the impact of disruption to assessment caused by Covid-19 and supersede the arrangements announced on 20 April 2020. 

Full details about the adaptations for Essential Skills Wales qualifications for 2020-21 can be found on the awarding bodies’ here. 

Where can we find more information?

Recognising the ongoing disruption, we will continue to engage with centres and publish information as it becomes available, sharing information on our social media channels and website.