The VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework: Consultation on proposed Condition VCR8 Assessment opportunity in 2021

Closed 7 Apr 2021

Opened 24 Mar 2021


The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led the Department for Education (the Department) to reach the policy view that it is not viable for external exams to go ahead for some Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs) and other general qualifications.

The Secretary of State issued a direction to Ofqual on 25 February 2021 setting out his policy intention for how results should be awarded for 3 broad groups of VTQs and other general qualifications.

We consulted on the detail of the regulatory framework we proposed to put in place to enable awarding organisations to issue results to learners in line with the approaches set out in the direction. This regulatory framework will be called the VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF). This consultation ran between 25 February 2021 and 11 March 2021.

In the direction, the Secretary of State also set out an expectation for Ofqual to work with awarding organisations to determine whether there was a need for different provision of autumn and winter assessments beyond those already provided. This was so that learners would have the same opportunity as GCSEs, AS and A level learners to sit an exam if they wished to improve on their Teacher Assessed Grade.

Therefore, as part of our consultation, we sought views on what arrangements we could put in place to provide this opportunity.

Taking into account the feedback to the consultation, we have decided that a very similar approach to last year should be adopted. We plan to include a condition within the VCRF (proposed Condition VCR8) to put this policy decision into effect. This condition requires awarding organisations:

  • who normally provide assessment opportunities between September and January of an academic year, to additionally make those assessments available to learners who were eligible to receive a result through a Teacher Assessed Grade as well as those who would ordinarily take an assessment at that time
  • who do not normally provide assessment opportunities between September and January to provide those opportunities where it reasonably considers there is sufficient demand and would be manageable to both the awarding organisation and centres

This will allow awarding organisations to make decisions appropriate to their qualification design and approach to awarding in summer 2021 to enable learners to improve on their result where it is based on a Teacher Assessed Grade.

We consider that this will serve the need for learners to access opportunities to sit assessments this autumn, and balances any potential burden for centres and awarding organisations that will result from this.

We have made some changes to the drafting used last year to reflect the context of 2021, including to permit awarding organisations, where appropriate, to make adaptations to assessments offered in the autumn and to revert to the arrangements for appeals that have been disapplied in the VCRF.

Why your views matter

We are seeking your views on the drafting of Condition VCR8.

We would also welcome your views on our assessment of the likely impact of our proposals, including whether there are any additional impacts we have overlooked, and any steps we could take to mitigate such impacts.

This consultation runs from 24 March to 7 April 2021.

What happens next

Your response has been submitted - thank you for completing the consultation

This information will now be analysed and the findings will be published on our website.

To get alerted to updates to this and other Ofqual consultations, you can sign up for alerts on our consultation page on GOV.UK.




  • Students
  • Parents and carers
  • Teachers
  • Schools and colleges
  • Regulated awarding organisations


  • T levels
  • Apprenticeships
  • Functional skills
  • Performance table qualifications
  • Vocational and technical qualifications
  • Conditions and guidance
  • Regulation of awarding organisations