Examination Results In 2020 - What Next?

Published date18 September 2020
Subject MatterConsumer Protection, Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Education, Trials & Appeals & Compensation
Law FirmVeale Wasbrough Vizards
AuthorMs Eleanor Boyd

The Government's u-turn on the standardisation of centre assessed grades (CAGs) for this year's A-level and GCSE grading has marked a shift of emphasis to those who are unhappy with their grades based on their CAGs or awarded result, if higher.

Ofqual has since issued new and revised guidance to reflect the u-turn, including their Summary guidance on appeals, malpractice and maladministration complaints for GCSE, AS and A level grades in England published on 26 August 2020, which has answered some key questions.

Essentially, the arrangements for appeals and challenges have not changed in themselves, but what is clear is that schools are likely to receive a greater number of enquiries and complaints about CAGs, with appeal routes based on errors by awarding bodies being largely redundant now.

We have already received a number of enquiries from schools about how they should manage parent and pupil dissatisfaction with CAGs, and we feel it is helpful and timely to explore this again now.

Enquiries and Complaints About CAGs

If pupils and/or parents are unhappy with their CAGs, or have a question about them, they must generally raise these matters with the school in the first instance. This is likely to invoke one or more of five procedures, as follows:

  • Accuracy check - Schools must have a system in place to check and confirm to pupils upon request that no errors were made in determining or communicating their CAG to them.
  • Appeal request and review - Schools must have a system in place to consider a request for an appeal, to lodge an appeal where merited, and for the preliminary decision to be reviewed/appealed upon request if declined.
  • Complaints procedures - Schools remain bound to consider concerns and complaints raised by parents (and, in this instance, we would suggest you also include pupils, given the ages involved) under their published Complaints Policy. Given the nature of these complaints, we would advise that they are dealt with from the formal investigation stage (usually Stage 2) and, given that the Head of Centre (usually the Headteacher) will have signed off on the CAGs before they were submitted, this investigation should be undertaken by a Governor or (in a multi-academy trust) a member of the Trust's central executive team.
  • Malpractice procedures - Linked to the above schools are obliged to report allegations, suspicions and findings of malpractice (including maladministration) to awarding bodies and follow their instructions thereafter....

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