Important information for Further Education (FE) students about the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

Bradford College is committed to keeping you informed, following the Coronavirus outbreak.

Please read our advice and information, including a letter from our Senior Leadership Team and a series of FAQs.


UPDATE: New GCSEs and A Level Exam Guidance - released by Ofqual on Friday 3 April 2020

GCSE and A-level students will receive grades based on what tutors believe they are most likely to have been given if they had sat their exams this summer, according to guidelines announced by Ofqual today (3 April 2020).
While this process does not apply to vocational and technical qualifications, Ofqual is working urgently to develop an approach to those qualifications and we will provide further information as soon as possible.
GCSE and A-level grades
Like other schools and colleges, Bradford College will provide exam boards with:
  • The grade they believe students would have received if they had sat their exams as planned this summer
  • Within each subject, the order of students ranked by performance, for each grade.
Grades will be decided using a variety of evidence of student work including:
  • Progress review data
  • Classwork
  • Homework
  • Mock exams
The aim of the assessment guidelines is to standardise grades across schools and colleges, ensure results for students are as fair as possible and accurately reflect their work and efforts.
We expect to submit grades and ranked performance to exam boards at the end of May. We are not permitted to inform students of the grades we will be submitting, as they will not be final until exam boards have reviewed and confirmed the grades. Currently results are expected to be announced in August, as if exams had been sat as normal.
Bradford College will be working hard to digest the guidance and make preparations to ensure that our students are fairly treated in this process.
We will contact students and parents again towards the end of April to provide further updates ahead of grade assessments.
Following the Easter break, we will continue to deliver online learning to students.
If you are a current student and you have queries about your exams – remember you can email:
Regardless of your grading outcome this year, our Admissions Team will be on hand throughout your applications process to ensure you secure your place on your chosen course this September. To speak to a friendly Admissions Officer please email [email protected] or call 01274 088088.

Background and FAQs

On 18 March 2020, the Secretary of State for Education announced that the summer 2020 GCSE, AS and A level exam series would be cancelled in order to help fight the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and that students due to sit the exams would be awarded a grade based on an assessment of the grade they would have been most likely to achieve had exams gone ahead.
On 23 March, the Secretary of State advised the government’s intention that results would be issued to this year’s cohort based on a range of evidence and data, including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment.

Which qualification will be assessed?

This information is relevant to all students and exam centres in England using the following qualifications regulated by Ofqual and offered by AQA, OCR, Pearson, WJEC Eduqas, ASDAN and City & Guilds.
  • GCSEs
  • AS and A levels
  • Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ)
  • Advanced Extension Awards (AEA) in maths

Vocational and technical qualifications

While this process does not apply to those qualifications, the same aims apply.
Ofqual is working urgently to develop an approach and we will provide further information as soon as possible.

Access to HE

The QAA has published its COVID-19 update for Access to HE providers, with detail on how Access to HE students will be assessed or continue their learning.
These students will be awarded a graded Access to HE Diploma based on the assessment they have already completed with calculated grades for all remaining assessments that have submission dates after 20 March 2020. 
Please read the QAA update ,which contains more information.

How will centre assessment grades work?

Colleges will use their professional experience to make a fair and objective judgement of the grade they believe a student would have achieved had they sat their exams this year.
Colleges will consider the full range of available evidence when they grade students, including:
  • non-exam assessment 
  • the results of any homework assignments or mock exams 
  • and any other records of student performance over the course of study.
Colleges are also asked to provide a rank order of students within each grade. This is to provide statistical data as part of the standardisation process
Ofqual has provided clear guidance to colleges on the grading and rank ordering process to help teaching staff to take a common approach to assessing their students.

When and how will centre assessment grades be submitted to exam boards? 

Exam boards will provide detailed instructions to schools and colleges on when and how to submit centre assessment grades after Easter.
The deadline to submit grades will be no earlier than 29 May 2020, and centres will have a window of at least two weeks in which to submit the data.

What does this mean for non-exam assessment?

In some subjects students will have completed, or nearly completed, non-exam assessment. This will be helpful to colleges in deciding each student’s grade and rank order.  However, colleges do not need to ask students to complete any unfinished non-exam assessment work for the purposes of grading.

Will centre assessment grades be accurate? 

College-based assessment already has an important role in many GCSEs, AS and A levels. In an unprecedented situation such as this, colleges are best placed to judge the likely performance of their students had courses been completed as normal. There is evidence to show that teachers can rank order students with a high degree of accuracy. In the interests of fairness to students, judgements made by schools and colleges across the country should be consistent. Exam boards will therefore standardise the judgements once grades have been submitted.

How will centre assessment grades be standardised? 

To make sure that grades are fair between schools and colleges, exam boards will put all centre assessment grades through a process of standardisation using a model being developed with Ofqual. The model of standardisation is currently being finalised, but we expect it will look at evidence such as:
  • the expected national outcomes for this year’s students 
  • the prior attainment of students at each school and college
  • and the results of the school or college in recent years.
Standardisation will not change the rank order of students within each centre; nor will it assume that the distribution of grades in each subject/centre should be the same. However, if grading judgements in some schools and colleges appear to be more severe or generous than others, exam boards will adjust the grades of some or all of those students upwards or downwards accordingly.

Will students see the centre assessment grades their school or college submits? 

No. It is important that colleges do not share provisional grades, nor rank orders, with students, parents or carers before final results have been issued. This is to protect the integrity of the teachers’ judgements.

When will results be released? 

Ofqual will work hard to ensure results can be released as soon as is possible. Results won’t be delayed after the dates they were expected in August, and if possible maybe issued a little earlier, so students can have the certainty they need.

Will grades issued in 2020 carry the same weight as grades issued in previous or future years? 

The grades awarded to students will have equal status to the grades awarded in other years and should be treated in this way by universities, colleges and employers. On the results slips and certificates, grades will be reported in the same way as in previous years.

Will students be able to progress to the next stage of education or employment with these grades? 

Yes, this approach will enable students to move onto the next stage of their education or employment in the autumn as planned. The Department for Education has discussed the plan with UCAS, school and college leaders, who are supportive of the approach.

If students choose to take an exam this autumn, which grade will stand – the exam or centre assessment grade? 

Students who feel that their grades from the summer do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand.

Still have a query?

If you still have questions not addressed within the FAQs, please direct your queries to your Programme Lead and/or Tutor in the first instance.

Regular updates continue to be posted via the College website, alongside Moodle and via emails. Please check the website and your emails regularly (including spam and junk filters) to ensure you remain up-to-date.