GDPR

This policy explains how the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) uses personal information in performing its functions. It also describes how long we keep that information for and the limited circumstances in which we might disclose it to third parties.

This policy is listed in full here.

JCQ holds two types of personal information:

Customer provided information: any personal information sent in to JCQ through correspondence such as contact details, age, gender, details about personal circumstances relevant to the examination process.

Customer contact records: records of calls, emails and postal interactions with our website and office and the JCQ Centre Inspection Service, Access Arrangements Online and the National Centre Number Register are maintained for audit, training and service improvement purposes. Further information on these services is held on our website.

In order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, your details will only be kept for the shortest time required.
This will vary according to the type of data being held.

If you wish to see full details of the information JCQ holds in connection with you, you will need to make a subject access request under the General Data Protection Regulation. To initiate a subject access request, email info@jcq.org.uk.

JCQ has a contract with a third party (Cloud Direct) to back up personal information securely, protected by the latest encryption and firewall technology. These systems are regularly audited and tested to ensure your data is safe.

Your data will not be sent overseas.

Occasionally, personal information held by JCQ may be requested by and disclosed to:

  • Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA Accreditation
  • Department for Education
  • Awarding Organisations which are JCQ members

Personal data may be shared with these organisations when a valid reason to obtain the data under the General Data Protection Regulation and other data protection legislation is provided. Such requests are dealt with on a strictly case-by-case basis.

JCQ has fully committed to adherence of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force on 25 May 2018. In relation to our collection and processing of personal data, please see the below information.
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Collection and Processing of Data

You can contact JCQ at: info@jcq.org.uk

Any collected data will be stored within secure electronic records management systems, with the system being dependent on the nature of information.

Personal data will be stored for the shortest time necessary.

Under the GDPR you have the following rights to request information from us:

  • Right of access to the data (Subject Access Request)
  • Right for the rectification of errors
  • Right to erasure of personal data (please note, this is not an absolute right)
  • Right to restrict of processing or to object to processing
  • The right to portability.

You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time, without affecting the lawfulness of processing based on consent before its withdrawal.

You have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority (in the UK that is the Information Commissioner’s Office).

If we are to process the personal data we hold for a purpose other than that for which it was originally collected, then we will provide you with information on what that other purpose is prior to that further processing taking place. The extra information will include any relevant further information as referred to above including the right to object to that further processing.

Results

First of all – don’t panic! There are a number of sources of help and advice, including your school or college. A good starting point may be the UCAS website: www.ucas.com; this includes information about the Clearing system and from 7 am on results day you can check your position on ‘Track’ using your application number and password, if you are holding a conditional offer/s. Ofqual also publishes a helpful guide to the A level system, including a section on results day and a list of other sources offering information. You can find this at: gov.uk/government/organisations/ofqual

You should talk to your school or college about what re-sit opportunities there are, when these are available and for which subjects/units.

The process by which schools and colleges may have candidates’ marks reviewed is set out in the JCQ Post-Results Services Information and guidance for centres document. This document provides information on:

  • Enquiries about results Reviews of marking services
  • EAccess to Scripts – Photocopies and Original scripts

This can be accessed on the JCQ website here.

The document must be used by schools and colleges, in conjunction with any supplementary information provided by awarding bodies, to inform decisions regarding post-results services. The deadlines for each service are set out on page 2 of the booklet.

Requests for enquiries about results must be made by the school or college on the candidate’s behalf and must be made to the relevant awarding body/ies. Candidates should be aware that if a mark is reviewed it could stay the same, go up or go down. Candidates should bear this in mind when considering whether to ask a school or college to seek a re-mark on their behalf.

The awarding bodies send results to schools and colleges electronically. Schools and colleges use this electronic data to produce results slips, commonly known as candidate provisional statements of results. Candidates must collect their examination results from their school or college. Awarding Bodies cannot give out results to individuals.

The overview of the national results is downloadable from the Examination Results section of this website from 09:30am on results day.

The national results for previous years (starting from 2001) are also downloadable from the website here.

The results published by the JCQ relate to entries and not to candidates. Many schools and colleges will offer qualifications from a number of awarding bodies, so a candidate might be sitting English ‘A’ level with AQA, Mathematics ‘A’ level with Edexcel and History ‘A’ level with OCR which together would show their overall results. The JCQ data shows the collective results of the entries of the member awarding bodies. So for example, the data can show that performance has increased or declined at ‘A’ level or GCSE and within the grades; whether more or fewer candidates are choosing to take a particular subject.

It cannot show whether more boys or girls achieve five or more passes at GCSE. The Government produces achievement and attainment tables about GCSEs and ‘A’ levels in the following Autumn/ Spring and these are published on the DfE website (www.education.gov.uk).

Other Common Questions

No, materials available on the JCQ website may not be used in this way unless you have permission from the JCQ to do so.

Over the past twenty years a number of examination boards have merged. If you are not sure which board/s you took your examinations with or how to contact them please see the document produced by Ofqual

If you still cannot remember which board/s you took your examinations with you can contact the various awarding bodies to see if they have a record of you achieving a qualification with them.

Please note that there is generally a charge for issuing confirmation of qualifications and you will need to be able to prove that you are the certificate holder.

The JCQ Centre Inspection Service in England is administered by AQA. The inspection service covers centres offering GCSE, GCE, Basic Skills, Functional Skills, Key Skills, Principal Learning and Entry Level examinations. Notification of intent to conduct an exam at an alternative site must be made to the JCQ Centre Inspection Service.

The JCQ Centre Inspection Service in Wales is administered by WJEC.

The JCQ Centre Inspection Service in Northern Ireland is administered by CCEA.

To email the JCQ Centre Inspection Service, please click here.

JCQ Statement on Brexit

JCQ and its member awarding organisations are aware of, and are planning for, the different possible scenarios presented by the UK leaving the European Union.

JCQ is working with its member awarding organisations, Government and regulators to finalise appropriate collective arrangements which might be needed to ensure all examinations and assessments for qualifications provided by JCQ members take place according to the published timetable. JCQ has tried and tested joint contingency arrangments which have been reviewed. JCQ will continue to focus on ensuring the needs of centres and learners are met.

Information Security Guidance for Heads of Centres

In the run-up to examinations it is important to consider how centre staff handle electronic data. Electronic records should be treated the same as any other records created as part of the exams process. They must be stored securely within a centre.

With the introduction of GDPR legislation, centre staff must be particularly careful when handling and processing personal information. All entry data will include a candidate’s personal data (name, date of birth and address). Candidates with special educational needs may also have sensitive information relating to an access arrangement. It should be noted that candidate consent is required before access arrangements applications can be processed. In addition, information relating to special applications may be equally as sensitive.

Centres receiving electronic examination papers or materials in an electronic format will need to observe the awarding bodies download and security instructions. The storage of internal assessments and transmission of marks to awarding bodies must be undertaken securely to maintain the integrity of the information.

Results will be released electronically to centres on the days before results days. In 2019 these are:

• Wednesday 14 August for GCE A levels, GCE AS levels and Extended Project
• Wednesday 21 August for full and short course GCSEs, Entry Level qualifications and Project

These results must be kept securely prior to the release of results and you must follow the JCQ guidance detailed in Release of results June 2019.

Post-Results Services or appeals data must also be kept securely, and a candidate’s consent is required before a Post-Results Services request can be processed.

The JCQ Centre Inspection Service give advice on the security and storage of question papers within a centre. However, the security of a centre’s IT systems, its internal usage policy and any staff training is the responsibility of the Head of Centre. Any internet enabled IT equipment should have as a minimum:

• up-to-date anti-virus software installed on all devices
• a firewall properly configured for the centre’s needs, and
• a well-maintained and up-to-date operating system.

Staff accessing web-based applications or other online systems (including awarding body systems) should be using, where available, a multi-factor authentication password. Password re-use across different applications should be strongly discouraged. Where a centre permits personal use of its IT equipment there must be automatic controls in place to prevent the downloading of malicious software. Staff training should include keeping personal data safe and advice on how to reduce the risk or theft of login credentials.

The NCSC website includes advice to individuals as well as organisations. Some useful links are below.

NCSC – Top tips for staying secure online

The Government minimum standard for cyber security – Cyber Essentials.

More information is available from the National Cyber Security Centre website.

Exams

If the wrong question paper packet is opened and given to students, your staff should do two things:

1.  Make sure that affected students remain supervised under exam conditions, even if other students have finished.  This is to make sure that any work they have done on the wrong paper can be accepted by the board, if necessary         they can be given the correct paper and so confidentiality agreements can be signed.

2.  Contact the exam board for specific instructions.  Your centre is unlikley to have experienced this before, but the exam board has, so they will be able to advise you on what to do next.