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Summer Grades 2021

How were my grades arrived at this year?

Grades this summer were based on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). TAGs were submitted to the exam boards by us as a holistic assessment of students’ performance in a subject, following a rigorous process of assessment, moderation and quality assurance.  A range of evidence was used to inform that holistic judgement, the details of which are explained in our robustness framework here.

These grades were then approved by the relevant exam board, following external quality assurance checks.  Unlike last year, no grades have been changed as a result of an algorithm.


What do I do if I’m not happy with my grade?

All students can appeal their grade if they meet the eligibility criteria (see below).

It is important to note that an appeal may result in a grade being lowered, staying the same, or going up. If a student puts in an appeal and their grade is lowered, they will receive the lower mark and there is no further appeal.

There is also the option to re-sit GCSEs, A Levels and some AS levels in the autumn term, which may be preferable to some students. The design, content and assessment of these papers will be the same as in a normal year.


What are the grounds for appeal?

There are five main grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). They are:

  • You think we have made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong information into a spreadsheet that was sent to an exam board.
  • You think we have made a procedural error: this means we haven’t properly followed our own process (outlined in our centre policy), as approved by the exam board.
  • You think the academic judgement on the selection of your evidence was unreasonable
  • You think the evidence used to grade you was not reasonable.
  • You think the academic judgement on the grade you were given was unreasonable.


What does ‘unreasonable’ mean?

‘Unreasonable’ is a technical term in this context and means that no educational professional acting reasonably could have selected the same evidence or come up with the same grade.

This means that just because other forms of evidence may have been equally valid to use, the selection of evidence is not unreasonable. Because of the flexibility of the approach this year, every school and college will have used different forms of evidence.

It also means that the independent reviewers will not re-mark or grade students’ evidence. Instead, they will look to see whether any teacher acting reasonably could have arrived at the same grade based on the evidence used.


What will be the outcome of an appeal?

At either stage of the appeals process (see ‘What are the two stages of an appeal?’ below), a student’s grade may go up, stay the same, or go down. When placing an appeal the student will have to sign a declaration saying that they accept the fact their grade may go down and they may get a lower grade than their original TAG.


What is a priority appeal?

Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September.

Priority appeals are only open to A Level students starting university this autumn, who have missed out on the conditions of their firm or insurance offer.

If you decided not to confirm a firm conditional offer and to go through clearing instead, JCQ cannot offer you a priority appeal.

JCQ cannot offer priority appeals for GCSE students, unfortunately.

When making a priority appeal, students will have to include their UCAS number so it can be confirmed that it is a genuine priority appeal.


What should I do if I don’t get into my first choice of university?

Firstly, don’t panic. Speak to us about your options. You may wish to go through clearing, or sit the autumn exams or summer exams next year to try to improve your grade.

If you are going to appeal your grade, you must let your university know you are appealing. They will then let you know whether they will hold a place for you pending the outcome of an appeal (note that universities are not obliged to hold a place for you; this is at their discretion).


What should I do before appealing?

Students must read the JCQ Student and Parent guide before appealing, which will be available on the JCQ website by results days.

We will not be able to offer as much advice and guidance on the likely success of an appeal this summer as we would in normal years, as we have already moderated and quality assured all the grades ourselves.


What are the two stages of an appeal?

All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a Centre Review. To request a Centre Review, students must complete the ‘Stage 1’ form on the link below.

At this stage, upon receipt of your form, we will complete the Centre Review by checking for any administrative errors, and check that our policies and procedures were followed correctly. Our policy has already been approved by the exam boards, so we only need to ensure that we followed this properly.

The outcome of the Centre Review will be communicated to students once it is complete.

At the Centre Review stage, if we find that a grade should go up or down, we will ask the exam board to change it. They will then consider this request.

Following the outcome of a Centre Review, students may still choose to pursue an awarding organisation appeal. They must fill in the ‘Stage 2’ form using the link below, which we will then send on their behalf to the exam boards. Students and parents cannot send appeals directly to the exam board themselves – it must come from us.

The outcome of the awarding organisation appeal will be communicated to students once it is complete.


How do I make an appeal?

Following results days, students should fill in the ‘Stage 1’ JCQ form here and send it to Mrs Still at


What are the deadlines for priority appeals?

The deadline for requesting a priority Centre Review is at midday on 16th August. (students cannot appeal before results day on 10th August).

We will complete the Centre Review by 20th August* and will return the appeal form to you to explain the outcome. If students wish to progress this to an awarding organisation appeal, they must then complete the ‘Stage 2’ form here and send the completed form to us by midday on 23rd August. We will process this and submit to the exam board by the end of the day on 23rd August*.

*At both stages of the appeals process, there may be the need for specialist, expert knowledge (e.g. subject teachers, SEND knowledge). This may not be possible in August. In such cases, we may have to wait until the start of term, but priority appeals will still be treated as a priority.


What are the deadlines for non-priority appeals?

Non-priority appeals are any A Levels, GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm or insurance university place is not pending.

The deadline for submitting a Centre Review is at midday on 1st September which we will complete and respond to by 7th September.  The deadline for submitting an awarding organisation appeal to us is 10th September.

Appeals received after these dates may still be considered.


You know my grades. Why can’t you tell us? What if you know we haven’t met our university conditional offer or Sixth Form entry requirements?

We are forbidden from disclosing the Teacher Assessed Grades to any third party, including students and parents, until results days (10th August for A Level and 12th August for GCSE). Any teacher or member of staff who does this is committing exam malpractice.

During the external quality assurance process taking place in June or July, our submitted TAGs may be moved up or down (although this will always be done through human agency, not by an algorithm).

We only know what a student’s conditional university offer or Sixth Form options and entry requirements are if they have chosen to share that information with us. It has not formed part of our objective, evidence-based grading of students. Where we do know this information, we must not let students know their submitted TAGs, even if they haven’t met the conditions of their offer.




Summer Grades 2021