The appeals process

The JCQ appeals process only relates to qualifications offered under the JCQ regulations, i.e. GCSE, GCE, FSMQ, ELC, Basic Skills, Essential Skills (Wales), Functional Skills, Key Skills, Principal Learning and Project qualifications.  If the qualification you are concerned about is not one of these, please refer to the individual Awarding Body’s documentation for further guidance.

A centre may wish to appeal a JCQCIC member Awarding Body decision regarding:

  • The outcome of enquiries about results
  • Decisions made in cases of malpractice
  • Access arrangements and special consideration

In addition, some administrative decisions, such as in cases of missing scripts, may be subject to review by awarding body officers.

An appeal may be launched following the publication of an Awarding Body decision.  A centre wishing to lodge a complaint before the conclusion of an EAR or malpractice investigation should follow the relevant Awarding Body complaints process.

An appeal may be made by a head of centre on behalf of a candidate or group of candidates, or by a private candidate (a private candidate is one who has pursued a course of study independently, with their chosen centre responsible only for processing the candidate’s entry and invigilating their examination).  Appeals are not accepted from internal candidates and/or their parents or carers.

Awarding bodies may charge a fee for each stage of an appeal against the outcome of an EAR.  This will be refunded if the appeal is successful.

Step by step

Although the appeals process may differ slightly depending upon the nature of the appeal, the following general principles apply.

There are two stages of appeal:

Stage 1

The head of centre or private candidate submits a written request to the relevant Awarding Body within two calendar weeks of receiving the outcome to be contested, detailing the nature of their concern(s).  If it is accepted that there are grounds for the appeal, the case will be examined by a senior officer within the Awarding Body with no previous involvement in the matter.  All relevant Awarding Body procedures leading up to the decision will be checked for compliance with the regulator’s ‘Code of Practice’.  Following the investigation, the appeal will either be upheld or disallowed.  In the case of EARs, a report of the investigation will be sent to the head of centre or private candidate.

If a Stage 1 appeal relating to an EAR is upheld, a further review of the candidates’ work may be undertaken.

Stage 2

If the head of centre or private candidate remains dissatisfied upon receipt of the outcome of the Stage 1 Appeal, they may submit a written request for a Stage 2 Appeal within two calendar weeks.

A Stage 2 Appeal includes the opportunity to present a detailed case to an impartial body appointed in accordance with the regulator’s Code of Practice at a formal hearing.  Following a hearing, the decision of the panel will be communicated to both parties within five working days with a full report provided within 28 calendar days.

Further avenues of appeal

If the appellant remains dissatisfied with the decision of the Stage 2 appeals panel, they may wish to appeal to the Examinations Procedures Review Service.  Further details may be found at:

For further information regarding the appeals process, please see the JCQ publication ‘A guide to the awarding bodies’ appeals processes’.


JCQ Members