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Approach to Awarding in 2021-2

NOCN has worked closely with the Qualification Regulators to support the continuation of Centre training and assessment to allow learners to continue receiving results during the easing, but ongoing disruption to education.

Please note this guidance refers to all learners who are due to take their assessments from 1st September. For learners who took their assessments on or before 31st August 2021, please refer to NOCN's Approach to Awarding for 2020-1 guidance.

April 2022 Update

We would like to inform centres that we have refreshed the NOCN Reasonable Adjustment and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure. The policy has been refreshed to provide the latest support available for both centres and learners in supporting access to assessments.

Centres are encouraged to ensure they are aware of the adjustments and considerations available and are reminded of their responsibilities to evaluate the need for these with their learners.

December 2021 Update

On the 9th December, the Department for Education (DfE) confirmed that VTQ examinations timetabled for January would go ahead as planned. The DfE believe learners are prepared for their examinations and therefore it is right to provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learnt.

Ofqual have confirmed that they will instruct Awarding Organisations to implement their contingency arrangements where a worsening of public health restrictions means that the majority of assessments can not go ahead as planned. This may include the re-introduction of Teacher Assessed Grades for the applicable qualifications.

However, the current arrangements mean that NOCN centres must continue to train and assess learners either as normal or by making use of the latest adaptations. Ofqual has produced further guidance which can be read here.

Some Awarding Organisations may be providing differing alternative arrangements, such as the provision of advanced information for examinations, however, due to the on-demand nature of NOCN assessments, NOCN does not believe this is necessary. Instead, centres should make use of the current flexibilities to allow learner completion, these include:

  • Remote training and assessment (where permitted by the qualification).
  • Remote invigilation for external assessments (where available).
  • The ability to book examinations and re-sits on-demand, as long as the notice period is met.
  • Re-scheduling of assessments.
  • Banking of unit assessments as the learner progresses through their qualification.

Where centres are struggling to gain access to their usual Invigilators, NOCN may be able to offer alternative arrangements for the Centre. Please contact if you are affected by this.

Centres are also reminded to consider the use of a special consideration where required. Please refer to the NOCN Reasonable Adjustment and Special Consideration Policy and Procedure.

If any centres are under any covid pressures, or if they have any  questions, please contact our Quality Assurance Team at

Ofqual's Updated VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework for 2021-2 Arrangements

On the 6th August 2021, Ofqual and the Department for Education published the outcome of their joint consultation and confirmed their steer for the arrangements to the awarding of qualifications in the 2021-2 academic year. The outcome of the consultation can be read here. The outcome of the consultation means that:

  • From 1st September 2021, all qualifications categorised as Category B1 or B2 during the 2020-1 academic year will now move into Category A. This means that adaptations will continue to apply for all relevant qualifications and there will no longer be a provision of Calculated or Teacher Assessed Grades.
  • Category B provisions will still remain in place for learners who require an appeal to their grade in 2020-1 and for any learners who did not receive a result in 2020-1 through a Teacher Assessed Grade, but should have.
  • Adaptations to assessment will remain in place and will continue to be updated and refreshed to fit the context of 2021-2 as the academic year progresses.

Adaptations to Assessment in 2021-2

NOCN will continue to support adaptations to assessment and will keep these under review as the disruption to education continues and as centres adapt to new ways of working.

NOCN has worked across sectors to support centres in their progression of learners through the availability of adaptations. This includes general adaptations, such as allowing assessment to be delivered remotely or online, where this does not impede the assessment requirements of the qualification and making sector-specific adaptions.

To support the continuation of training and assessment, NOCN has produced a guidance document for centres to provide information and support on making general adaptations to assessment to progress their learners.

Please click here to download the NOCN Adaptation Guidance for Centres 2021-2 document.

Sector Specific Adaptations for 2021-2

Ending of Relaxation Rules Regarding Invigilation (Update December 2021)

In the 2020-1 academic year, NOCN relaxed its invigilation rule around requirements of invigilators. Up until 31st August 2021, centres were able to use Tutors/Assessors of the learner, or a Tutor/Assessor of the same subject, to invigilate a learner’s examination, either remotely or in-person. This was to remove what could be a barrier to a learner accessing an assessment and to support the use of covid ‘bubbles. This arrangement ended on the 1st September 2021.

To further support centres and to respond to the recent spikes in coronavirus cases, NOCN has decided to re-introduce this relaxation of the rule as of 17/12/2021. This relaxation is expected to remain in place until the end of March 2022.

NOCN will keep the relaxation of the ruling under review and may withdraw it if it is deemed no longer necessary.

2020-1 Arrangements

To view the arrangements in place for learners who were expected to receive their results before 31st August 2021, please click here.