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The information on this page is retained for reference use only. 

For more details on the process for the academic year 2021-22 please visit our Supporting Centres in 2021-2022 page.

During the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, we remain committed to supporting our centres and learners. On this page, we will provide updates and guidance as the situation develops.

We understand that many centres have already found ways to adapt their delivery to ensure that social distancing measures are met and that your learners are able to undertake their qualifications. However, you may be seeking further guidance and on this page you will find:

  • Latest updates
  • Adaptation Webinars
  • Guidance Documents
  • Additional guidance for specific qualifications suites
    • Access to HE
    • ESOL
    • Essential Digital Skills
    • Online multiple-choice assessments
    • Qualifications requiring direct observation

Page last updated: 26th August 2021

Latest updates
26th August 2021

This page was archived and will no longer be updated. The guidance provided here is retained for reference only.

For details on the process for the academic year 2021-22 please visit our Supporting Centres in 2021-2022 page.

14th July 2021

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.

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

6th July 2021

There is a lot to remember to ensure you have everything covered when claiming results this year. We have done as much as possible to keep the process as close to normal for you and, in many cases, Centres will have used existing flexibilities to register, assess and claim as usual.

The list below sets out the key activities involved and the deadlines or timescales by which they need to be completed in order to claim results under the VCRF.

  • Register learners
    Please register any outstanding learners immediately.
  • Select Units
    Before you generate an RAC or begin to claim.
  • Inform your EQA which learners, cohorts and units you wish to apply a TAG to
    Please inform your EQA as early as you can, and before the closure of the VCRF in August 2021.
  • Complete Head of Centre declaration (TAGs only)
    When submitting TAGs. TAGs cannot be processed until this declaration is completed.
  • Details of Samples Required
    Your EQA will be in touch regarding the sample required within 48 hours of your TAG claim being submitted. Please ensure the requested samples are returned within 5 days to enable speedy processing of your results. Please speak to your EQA if you need to arrange an alternative timescale.
  • Issue of e-certificates
    Within 24 hours of a fully completed claim.
  • Submission of results data to Learner Records Service
    Where a learner’s ULN has been provided, results are submitted to the LRS overnight following results being processed.
  • Deadline for submitting results under the VCRF
    By 20th August 2021 to allow for processing before the VCRF closes on 31st August 2021.
  • Deadline for Appeals
    Centres have four weeks from the receipt of results to submit an appeal. Learners should follow their Centre’s appeals process in the first instance.
  • Retention period for evidence
    Sampled learner work should be retained for three years. You should retain the evidence for TAGs in line with your own data retention schedule and ensure this is long enough to allow for any appeals to conclude.

If any of these timescales pose a problem for you, please contact us to discuss your concerns at the earliest opportunity.

6th July 2021

In the event of a need to appeal a decision under the VCRF, you may find the following links helpful:

  • Appeals should follow our Appeals Policy and Procedure.
  • Information for Centres on handling an appeal about a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) is contained in our Centre Guidance for Teacher Assessed Grades.
  • Learners who wish to make an appeal should either be supported by their Centre or should have exhausted their Centre’s own appeals process before appealing to Gateway Qualifications.
  • Access to HE learners who wish to appeal should refer to the Access to HE Diploma Learner Appeals Policy.

Appeals Form

Any other feedback or complaints can be submitted using this dedicated form.

20th May 2021

Ofqual has today published a guide for Centres aimed at helping providers through the awarding process this year.

The guidance covers a range of topics, including; quality assurance, appeals, additional assessment opportunities and cybersecurity.

Guidance for centres: awarding of VTQs: summer 2021

13th May 2021

We have added links to the Head of Centre and the Tutor-IQA Declarations below and to the Guidance Documents section.

Head of Centre Declaration for Vocational and Technical Qualifications 2020-21

Tutor-IQA Declaration VCRF – Gateway Qualifications

10th May 2021

Ofqual has published a guide for students on how GCSEs, A levels, vocational and technical qualifications will be graded and awarded in summer 2021.

You may wish to make this guide available to your learners to help explain the arrangements in place for awarding grades in summer 2021, and where they can go for additional information.

Ofqual Student guide to awarding: summer 2021

7th May 2021

As we approach the end of the academic year 2020-2021, we have made some changes to the process for claiming results to take into account the requirements of the Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF).

We have launched updated result options to enable a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) to be entered for eligible learners. This update has been made to both methods of claiming results: RACs and Direct Entry of Results (DER).

We recommend working through the following process to ensure grades are entered in a timely manner and learners can progress as planned.

Please refer to the Centre Guidance for Teacher Assessed Grades for full details.

  1. Check through the Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) eligibility criteria to ensure your learners meet the requirements.
  2. Inform your EQA which learners, cohorts and units you wish to apply a TAG to.
  3. Your EQA will request remote samples for review.
  4. Following successful completion of sampling, your EQA will inform you that you may proceed to enter your TAG result via your usual method of claim.
  5. Using the Claiming Results using Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) guidance you may enter and upload your TAG claims.

Please note that TAG grades will not auto process regardless of whether you hold Direct Claims Status (DCS) for the qualification or not. Please allow 5 working days from upload for verification to take place and for results to be processed.

If you are not using TAGs to claim, you can continue to claim in the usual way and DCS will still apply where appropriate.

14th April 2021

We have updated our Centre guidance for adaptations to qualification delivery and assessment 2020-2021 and this webpage to include an update from the Education and Training Foundation on the adaptations permitted for the suite of Education and Training qualifications whereby, assuming lockdown lifts and FE delivery returns to ‘normal’, the covid mitigations will cease to apply.

1st April 2021

We have updated the following guidance to remove references to the ERF and Extended ERF and have added information about the VCRF and Teacher Assessed Grades:

  • Centre guidance for adaptations to qualification delivery and assessment 2020-2021
  • Centre guidance for adaptations to delivery and assessment of ESOL Skills for Life qualifications 2020-21
  • Centre guidance for adaptations for Surpass Online Multiple Choice Assessments 2020-21
  • Centre guidance for adaptations to of Essential Digital Skills Qualifications 2020-21

We have also published new guidance for Teacher Assessed Grades:

  • Centre guidance for Teacher Assessed Grades 2020-21
19th March 2021

We have reorganised the information on this page to help make it easier to find the information you need.

Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs)

Please be aware that we cannot accept any TAGs until Ofqual implements the Vocational and Technical Qualification Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF) and we have confirmed our arrangements with centres.

We anticipate receiving the outcome of the Ofqual Technical VCRF consultation on 25th March after which we will be able to finalise our requirements and processes for Awarding 2021.

A further webinar will then be scheduled and new guidance to support our centres will be published mid-April as requirements will be different from last year.

To enable a smooth claiming process, it is essential you have pre-selected the units that will be claimed for each cohort. Please refer to the guidance on our website to assist with this process.

9th March 2021

Following Ofqual’s announcement of the proposed Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF), we have produced a tool to enable you to check which category we expect each of our qualifications to be in, and, therefore, whether qualifications you are delivering are eligible for teacher-assessed grades (TAGs).

Qualification Awarding Arrangements 2021 – Qualification List

8th March 2021

Gateway Qualifications is allowing learners to take online multiple-choice assessments remotely from 8th March 2021.

2nd March 2021

QAA has released an update for Access to HE students and providers on the Assessment and Award of the Access to HE Diploma in 2020-21.

25th February 2021

Ofqual has confirmed that it will implement a new Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF) for awarding vocational and technical qualifications in 2021. Read more about this announcement in our news update.

5th February 2021

Gateway Qualifications is allowing learners to take Essential Digital Skills live assessments remotely from 8th February 2021 during the current national lockdown.

13th January 2021

The Department for Education has clarified that assessments which have been scheduled during January 2021 may still take place. If you have scheduled an externally set assessment, for example for Essential Digital Skills or ESOL, you can go ahead and conduct the assessment if you are able to do in a safe way. Alternatively, since all our assessments are available on-demand, you may rebook the assessments free of charge, following our normal processes.

The Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF)

On 25th February 2021, the Government announced the policy and scope of awarding vocational and technical qualifications in 2021. Ofqual also confirmed that it will implement a new principles-based qualifications framework, the Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF).

Ofqual proposes to withdraw the ERF and the Extended ERF, but proposes to carry forward provisions which are still relevant to the 2021 context into the VCRF. The VCRF will permit alternative awarding arrangements for in scope qualifications that include delaying assessments, adapting assessments including Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs).

Read more about the introduction of the VCRF

Vocational and Technical Awarding Arrangements 2021

Following Ofqual’s announcement of the proposed Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF), we have produced a tool to enable you to check which category we expect each of our qualifications to be in, and, therefore, whether qualifications you are delivering are eligible for teacher-assessed grades (TAGs).

Qualification Awarding Arrangements 2021 – Qualification List

The above list was updated on 19th March 2021 to reflect that the following qualifications are now in Category A:

  • Gateway Qualifications Level 2 Award In Peer Mentoring
  • Gateway Qualifications Level 2 Award In Volunteering

On 11th March 2021, we held a short, half-hour webinar that introduced the VCRF and provided an update on our progress for awarding arrangements this year.

Watch the webinar now

Adaptation Webinars

We would like to invite you to watch one of our adaptation webinars where we provide a regulatory update and details about the adaptations that will be permitted for our qualifications during 2020-21.

Our Adaptions webinars are now available on-demand:

General adaptations webinar – covers all qualifications except ESOL Skills for Life and Access to HE qualifications.

ESOL adaptations webinar – specifically covers adaptations for ESOL Skills for Life qualifications.

Prison adaptations webinar – focused on adaptations for those delivering our qualifications in the secure environment where some adaptation approaches are not suitable. Prisons delivering our ESOL qualifications are best-suited to watch this webinar but may find the ESOL Adaptations webinar useful too.

Guidance Documents

The following guidance documents have been produced to assist Centres in making decisions about the adaptations which will be appropriate in their situation.

  • Centre guidance for adaptations to qualification delivery and assessment 2020-2021
  • Centre guidance for adaptations to delivery and assessment of ESOL Skills for Life qualifications 2020-21
  • Centre guidance for adaptations for Surpass Online Multiple Choice Assessments 2020-21
  • Centre guidance for adaptations to Essential Digital Skills Qualifications 2020-21
  • Centre guidance for Teacher Assessed Grades 2020-21
  • Claiming Results using Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs)
  • Head of Centre Declaration for Vocational and Technical Qualifications 2020-21
  • Tutor-IQA Declaration VCRF – Gateway Qualifications

Additional guidance for specific qualifications suites

Access to HE
Access to HE - Provider flexibilities

Information Sheet: Provider flexibilities for supporting Access to HE Diploma students in 2020-21

QAA has released an update for Access to HE students and providers on the Assessment and Award of the Access to HE Diploma in 2020-21.

ESOL
ESOL Adaptations

ESOL – Centre guidance for adaptations 2020-21 – Centre guidance for adaptations to delivery and assessment of ESOL Skills for Life qualifications 2020-21

ESOL adaptations webinar – specifically covers adaptations for ESOL Skills for Life qualifications.

Prison adaptations webinar – focused on adaptations for those delivering our qualifications in the secure environment where some adaptation approaches are not suitable. Prisons delivering our ESOL qualifications are best-suited to watch this webinar but may find the ESOL Adaptations webinar useful too.

Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (EDSQ)
Remote Assessments for Essential Digital Skills Qualifications

Gateway Qualifications is allowing learners to take Essential Digital Skills live assessments remotely from 8th February 2021.

More details and guidance on taking EDSQ assessments remotely

EDSQ Adaptations

Centre guidance for adaptations to of Essential Digital Skills Qualifications 2020-21

Online Multiple-Choice Assessments
Remote Assessments for Online Multiple-Choice Assessments

Gateway Qualifications is allowing learners to take online multiple-choice assessments remotely from 8th March 2021.

More details and guidance on taking online multiple-choice assessments remotely

Online Multiple-Choice Assessment Adaptations

Centre guidance for adaptations for Surpass Online Multiple-Choice Assessments 2020-21

Qualifications requiring direct observation
Health and Care Qualifications

Direct Observation in Health and Care Qualifications – the following documents from Skills for Health and Skills for Care and Development set out the adaptations permitted where direct observation in the workplace is required for assessment. This applies to the following qualifications:

Skills for Health assessment principles – flexibilities Sept 2020

Skills for Care and Development: Adaptions to Assessment Principles Covid-19

Education and Training Qualifications

Direct Observation in Education and Training Qualifications – the following document from the Education and Training Foundation sets out the adaptations permitted where direct observation in the workplace is required for assessment. This applies to the following qualifications:

ETF additional guidance for qualifications in Education and Training

Centres seeking to make adaptations to these qualifications must seek agreement from us before applying those adaptations, by completing the form below.

It is expected that with lockdown restrictions lifted and FE delivery returning to ‘normal’, that the covid mitigations will cease to apply. Further details are included in our Centre guidance for adaptations to qualification delivery and assessment 2020-2021.

Assessor and Quality Assurance Qualifications

Observations in Assessor and Quality Assurance Qualifications – the following document from the Education and Training Foundation sets out the adaptations permitted where direct observation is required. This applies to the following qualifications:

ETF additional guidance for Assessor/Quality Assurance qualifications

Centres seeking to make adaptations to these qualifications must seek agreement from us before applying those adaptations, by completing the form below.

It is expected that with lockdown restrictions lifted and FE delivery returning to ‘normal’, that the covid mitigations will cease to apply. Further details are included in our Centre guidance for adaptations to qualification delivery and assessment 2020-2021.

Centres seeking to make adaptations to the above Education and Training, or  Assessor and Quality Assurance qualifications must seek agreement from us before applying those adaptations, by completing the form below.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
Which qualifications fall into scope of the VCRF?

Qualifications from Entry to Level 6 fall into scope of the Vocational Technical Contingency Qualification Framework (VCRF). Please note not all qualifications are eligible for a Teacher Assessed Grade.

Can Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) be applied for all learners?

TAGs are not permitted for all qualifications. TAGs should be a last resort where learners have not been able to complete assessments in the usual way. Please note that a TAG is not the same as a centre assessed grade, and there must be evidence to support the claim.

Which qualifications fall into scope of the Extended ERF?

The Extended ERF has been withdrawn and replaced by the VCRF.

More information available here: Ofqual confirms Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF)

Are centre assessed grades permitted for learners due to complete in 2020-21?

No, centre assessed grades are not permitted this year. Teacher assessed grades, which are different, are permitted for some qualifications, please check the Summer 2021 Qualification Explainer Tool to see if a qualification is eligible.

Delivery Questions
Will content in the qualifications be reduced?

The expectation is teaching and learning off all units should take place. Where learners are enrolled on a large qualification e.g. Diploma size, a degree of adaptations are permitted, please refer to the Centre guidance for adaptations to qualification delivery and assessment 2020/2021

Where on the website is the education and training adaptation guidance?

Please refer to the Centre guidance for adaptations to qualification delivery and assessment 2020-2021 – Gateway Qualifications for further information.

This online webform should also be completed where adaptations are required.

Projects could be delivered long and thin is this ok or would it be better to deliver short and fat?

Projects may be delivered in whichever way is appropriate to the project objectives.  However, we would advise that learners complete assessments throughout their programme and bank units as soon as they have been assessed and QA’d.

Are adaptations permitted for EDSQ?

Please refer to the published adaptations guidance: Centre guidance for adaptations to Essential Digital Skills Qualifications 2020-21

Assessment Questions
Is there a set proforma template available for recording oral assessments?

No, centres are able to use their own forms to conduct adapted assessments or centres may use proformas available on our website.

For ESOL Skills for Life qualifications, centres should use the ESOL Skills for Life Observation Record that’s available within individual assessment packs.

Is an audio recording of oral questioning carried out via Microsoft Teams acceptable evidence or does it have to be written?

Yes, audio recordings would be accepted as valid evidence.

Can ESOL assessments be remotely supervised?

Writing assessments Entry 1 – Level 1 can be remotely supervised, for further details please refer to the Centre guidance for adaptations to delivery and assessment of ESOL Skills for Life Qualifications 2020/2021.

Speaking and listening assessments can be conducted online.

Reading cannot be remotely supervised

Can ESOL assessments be taken online?

Writing assessments Entry 1 – Level 1 can be remotely supervised, for further details please refer to the Centre guidance for adaptations to delivery and assessment of ESOL Skills for Life Qualifications 2020/2021.

Speaking and listening assessments can be conducted online.

Reading assessment cannot be taken online.

Can online assessments such as British Values or Mental Wellbeing be taken remotely?

Please refer to the published adaptations guidance: Centre guidance for adaptations for Surpass Online Multiple Choice Assessments 2020-21

Do learners need to physically sign their work or is an electronic signature acceptable?

Electronic signatures are acceptable from learners as evidence of the authenticity of their work. This should be supported with a confirmation of learning statement completed by the tutor.

Please refer to the Centre guidance for adaptations to qualification delivery and assessment 2020-2021 – Gateway Qualifications for further information.

Quality Assurance Questions
Does Direct Claims Status (DCS) apply to Teacher Assessed Grades?

DCS does not apply to Teacher Assessed Grades.

Awarding and Certification Questions
Can I submit a Teacher Assessed Grade?

We cannot accept any TAGs until Ofqual has confirmed the VCRF and we have confirmed our arrangements with centres.

Can electronic portfolios be shared with EQAs?

Yes, we recommend that wherever possible the learner work is saved electronically.  This will facilitate sharing of work with EQAs.

Are we able to claim units as we go?

Yes, as soon as the work has been assessed and quality assured.

Can the EQA attend our (the centre's) online sessions to get validity on delivery/assessment?

Yes, our EQAs would be happy to attend online sessions.