The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has today published guidance for schools and colleges on how GCSE and AS/A Level grades will be determined in England this summer.

Following the Department for Education’s (DfE) decision that it was no longer fair for exams to go ahead this summer, Awarding Organisations have worked hand-in-hand with school and college leaders, Ofqual and the DfE to ensure grades can be awarded as fairly as possible this summer.

Students will be graded by their school or college based on their performance across a range of evidence, and only on subject content they have been taught.

The JCQ Guidance provides a range of information including:

·       The use of assessment materials provided by Awarding Organisations;

·       Advice for schools and colleges around their internal quality assurance processes to ensure grades are as fair as possible;

·       Guidance for those schools and colleges accepting private candidates;

·       The grounds on which students will be able to appeal;

·       Information about what constitutes malpractice;

·       How reasonable adjustments should be taken into account.

Dr Philip Wright, Director General at JCQ, said: ‘JCQ and the Awarding Organisations appreciate the urgent need for detailed guidance on how grades will be awarded fairly and appropriately this summer.

‘We have worked with Ofqual and the DfE to ensure our guidance has been published as quickly as possible following the outcomes of the conclusions of their consultation.  We understand, recognise and applaud the incredible effort of teachers in supporting students and their families over these tumultuous months.’

‘As we have developed the guidance, we have focused on three things: how best we can support teachers with helpful information, materials and templates; how we ensure compliance with Ofqual regulations and DFE requirements; and how we can keep the administrative burden for centres as manageable as possible.’

Dr Wright added: ‘We will continue to support the teaching and exam community throughout the entire grading process. JCQ has also published guidance for students and parents to ensure they understand how grades are being determined this year.

‘I want to reassure students who won’t have the opportunity to take exams this summer that JCQ, the Awarding Organisations, the DfE, and our regulator, Ofqual, have worked and will continue to work with your teachers, schools and colleges to ensure your grades reflect your performance on content you have been taught and allow you to confidently progress to the next stage of your education or into employment.’

Further guidance on how to submit appeals will be released next month.

For more information on awarding arrangements for summer 2021, please visit




For media enquiries:

Maurice Richmond
Communications Manager
Mob: 07399 870337
Twitter: @JCQcic


About JCQ:

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) is a membership organisation comprising the eight largest providers of qualifications in the UK.

Our members are: AQA (AQA Education Ltd), CCEA (Northern Ireland Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment), City & Guilds, NCFE, OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations), Pearson, SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority), WJEC.

The JCQ is a membership organisation and enables member awarding bodies to act together in providing, where possible, common administrative arrangements for schools and colleges and other providers which offer their qualifications; and responding to proposals and initiatives in assessment and the curriculum.

The JCQ is a not for profit Community Interest Company, limited by guarantee. It is funded by its members.