Ofqual: Submitting grade check samples ‘should not take too long’

A little like London Buses, Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation which is a non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests in England and, until May 2016, vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. Colloquially and publicly, Ofqual is often referred to as the exam “watchdog”) made it onto my radar for the second time in a week.

Not satisfied with the ‘outrage’ they caused with their claims of potential exam bias by teachers, this time they are causing outrage with their claims that “Submitting pupil work so exam boards can check teacher assessed grades “should not take too long” and will ensure teachers’ holidays are not interrupted”.

I post this because I read it the morning after a Curriculum Committee meeting at the Schoo, I am Vice Chair of Governors at, where we had a DTiC explain in detail the process they are going through, how little time they have been given to prepare, and how unclear the guidelines have been.

From SchoolsWeek

School leaders’ union ASCL branded the plans “scandalous” and has challenged the decision. It also led to questions about the government’s determination to “trust teachers” this year.

Today, Ofqual’s interim chief regulator Simon Lebus said they have asked schools to do this so that exam boards have “evidence from every centre available” as they carry out quality assurance after grades are submitted by June 18.

He said the submissions will “avoid the need for exam boards to contact centres after the end of term when teachers should be taking a much-needed rest during the summer holidays”.

“We are very conscious of teacher workload,” Lebus added. “The sample is relatively small and should not take too long for exams officers to submit.”

In updated guidance today, Ofqual say exam boards have “very little time” between submission of grades and the end of term to request evidence.

They add that it also provides “reassurance” that any centre’s evidence will be available to review “if necessary”.

It reads: “The sample size is relatively modest, in recognition of the workload on centres, and the collection and submission of it should be able to be managed by exams office staff with minimal call on teachers or heads of centre.”

Exam boards will request evidence for at least 1 A level subject and 2 GCSE subjects in the week of June 21.

Ofqual says that boards will “do their best” to make sure a centre will only have to submit evidence to one board “but this may not be possible in every case”.