Guidance for Parents/Carers

How will my child be awarded their GCSE, BTEC and Vocational Qualifications this summer?

The Department for Education (DfE) are currently under consultation about how schools will award students their GCSE, BTEC and other vocational qualifications this academic year. As a school we do not, as yet, have any definitive answers we can provide our students and parents/carers this may affect.

To keep you informed, the consultation document can be viewed in the link below;

Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021 – GOV.UK (

We have also anticipated potential questions which parents/carers and students may have about their courses and how they may be assessed and awarded their qualification in July.

It should be noted that the proposals for awarding GCSE and vocational qualifications are still in consultation and that parents/carers and students are encouraged to particpate in it.

Please click on the pink tabs below to find out more…


  • As a school, what evidence will you use to award Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) for my child?

    Firstly, we will continue with a second mock exam when we return to school at some point. We will continue to use STEP assessments remotely and when we return for face to face teaching. We will deliver LIVE sessions each day following student timetables and our Remote Learning expectations. We will run Lesson 7, Lesson 0, All Inclusives and pre-mock exam masterclasses either remotely or face to face.

    Teachers will determine a Centre Assessed Grade (CAG). We will take into account the following:

    • Effort in classwork so far this year and when we return
    • Effort in Remote Learning
    • Attendance at school (when face to face) (medical reasons are discounted)
    • Attendance to Remote lessons (we will ensure every student has ICT equipment and access)
    • Effort and Progress in  STEP Assessments
    • Effort and Progress from Mock Exam 1 to Mock Exam 2


    Most of the things we take into account are based on two simple things:

    • Effort
    • Attendance

    If students put in maximum effort in their LIVE sessions and log in and attend those LIVE sessions, they are giving themselves the best chance of success.

  • How will mock results affect my child's CAG?

    It is important to stress that predictions will be based on progress, so no matter what Mock grades a student achieved in December, they have a chance to improve it over the course of in-class and whole school assessments during the summer term.

    How much a student improves will be a part of determining their final predicted grade, as opposed to the actual Mock 2 grade they achieved. We are fully aware that a final mock grade in this climate of disruptions to learning is not an accurate measure of the potential of any student.

    As a school, we publish 9-1 mock grades and predicted grades with three ‘sub levels’ which indicate where a student sits within a particular grade band.

    • e.g. a grade 5 is broken into 5a, 5b and 5c sub levels. A grade 5a is at the top of a grade 5, with a chance of moving to a grade 6. Grade 5b is a secure grade 5. Grade 5c is within a grade 5 but at risk of slipping to a grade 4.

    Therefore, 6 sub levels of progress (for example) is better than 2 sub levels of progress, no matter which grade boundary a student sits in.

    • e.g. A student who moves from a grade 1b to a 3b made more progress than someone moving from a 8c to an 8a.

    This is a fairer measure of determining the final predicted grade, alongside the other criteria (stated in the question above) as we can take account of the rate of progress students will make in the final few weeks.

  • Will my child be tested in other ways in the absence of exams?

    The DfE states,

    To help teachers make objective decisions we propose that exam boards should provide guidance and training, and make available a set of papers, which teachers use with their students as part of their assessment. This consultation seeks views on whether such papers should be provided and, if so, what form they should take (could they, for example, use materials from previous past papers), when they should be made available, and whether their use should be mandated.

    We await further information about what boards will send to schools with regard to external sets of papers being used to test Year 11 students to support the awarding of their CAG.

  • Does my child have to sit any BTEC exams this spring term and beyond?

    The DfE confirmed on January 4 that they expected scheduled vocational exams to go ahead and it has updated that guidance to give schools, colleges and training providers the choice to offer students vocational exams, should schools and colleges judge it right to do so.

    We at Little Lever School decided to go ahead with our Music BTEC exam which took place on the 7th January.

    Pearson (the BTEC board) will certificate any learner who is unable to take their exams and has enough evidence to receive a certificate that they need for progression. Learners unable to take their assessment this January may be able to take their assessment at a later date. If that is not possible, Pearson will put in place arrangements to ensure no learner is disadvantaged.

    The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, then confirmed that scheduled exams for vocational qualifications will no longer take place in February and March 2021. The DfE guidance issued on 4th January still stands – that the January assessments for vocational qualifications can continue, if deemed right to do so by individual centres.

    In light of the information released by DfE and Ofqual as part of their joint consultation on 15 January 2021, we can now confirm that the summer examinations for BTEC will also not go ahead. However, BTEC examinations that contribute to qualifications may still go ahead, and the consultation outcome will inform any alternative arrangements.

  • What happens if my child is unable to sit any BTEC exams this term due to illness, self isolating?

    If learners are unable to take their assessment this January, they may be able to take the assessment at a later date. In the event that is not possible, Pearson will put in place arrangements to ensure they are not disadvantaged.

    Pearson will certificate any learner who was due to complete the programme in 2020/21 and is now unable to take their exams and has enough evidence to receive a certificate that they need for progression (this forms part of the existing ‘special considerations’ processes agreed with Ofqual).

  • How will my child's lessons, assignments and assessments in BTEC, vocational course be affected by the proposed changes?

    The current guidance is that schools should continue as normal teaching and delivering the various aspects of their vocational technical qualifications. At Little Lever students study the following vocational technical qualifications and during this term they must complete aspects of the course as delivered in their live remote lessons (with some specific guidance to tasks from some courses).

    BTEC Digital Information Technology (DIT)

    BTEC Music Technology

    • In Music BTEC students must continue to work on and produce coursework relating to their internally assessed units. The majority of this can be delivered remotely through Google Classroom, with students producing their coursework using Google Slides & other online tools.
    • It is essential that students ensure they continue to complete coursework on time, as this will provide the foundation for their practical lessons, when they hopefully return to the classroom.

    BTEC Creative Media

    • In BTEC Creative Media Production students are expected to plan and create two pages of a magazine. They will hand draw thumbnails and sketches, decide on colours and fonts, then create a front cover and one other inside page. They will add to and keep track of their progress by updating a portfolio of their work. Finally, they will review their achievements with an evaluation. This can be written as they go along or wrote as a separate task at the end.
    • Students have completed all other coursework requirements and have been given a grade for the examination unit last year. The magazine and review can be easily completed at home if students attend all remote live lessons and work steadily but at pace through the tasks.

    Level 1/2 Hospitality & Catering

    • For the Level 1/2 Hospitality and Catering course students are expected to complete a piece of Non Examined Assessment. This is worth 50% of the final grade. This includes a practical assessment. This work must be completed in school. Currently students are doing practice assessments and theory work to prepare them for this. It is vital that students attend all online sessions and complete these tasks.
    • The remaining 50% of the assessment will be a written examination currently scheduled for the summer exam series. Students will be completing learning activities to prepare for these in upcoming lessons.

    OCR Cambridge National Sports Studies