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future-proofing your Centre Policy

14 April 2021

Please note: the information contained in this legal update is correct as of the original date of publication.

Exams centres, including schools, have between 12 and 30 April 2021 to develop and submit their Centre Policy. This policy will set out the centre’s approach to assessment and quality assurance during this summer’s teacher assessed grading (TAGs) process.

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has published a pre-populated template which centres can adopt in full or make amendments to by adding or deleting material. JCQ has also published a Centre Policy Summary Form for completion which will be reviewed by awarding organisations to ensure arrangements are appropriate. Where there are questions or concerns, virtual visits will be conducted in May and June.

The Centre Policy will be a central piece of evidence in appeals and complaints. Centres will be exposed to easy challenge if the document is treated as a ‘tick box’ exercise rather than firmly embedded within the practice of the school and able to be evidenced as such.

As well as preparing the assessment records (the bodies of evidence on which TAGs for each subject cohort will be based), centres can also prepare for appeals and other challenges by ensuring that they would be confident in responding to these questions:

  1. Was the JCQ model adopted in full or amended?

    1. If it was amended, what amendments were made?

    2. What was the rationale for these amendments?

    3. Were the amendments reasonable and/or could they have the result of directly or indirectly discriminating against certain candidates (particularly those with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010)?

  2. Was each statement in the Centre Policy followed?

    1. How do you know?

    2. Can you evidence it?

For example, the template policy includes a statement that “Teachers will engage fully with all training and support that has been provided by the Joint Council for Qualifications and the awarding organisations.” How will your centre know that this has been done? And how will this be evidenced in the event of challenge? In this case, you may require teachers to maintain training logs and submit these to Heads of Department, who in turn will need to store these appropriately to ensure that they can be easily accessed during August when priority appeals will be conducted.

If you need support with your Centre Policy, or its implementation, then please do not hesitate to contact us. We have also developed detailed FAQs on various issues relating to ‘Grades without Exams’ which you can find here.

training and events


ISBL regional Conference Marriott Hotel, Southampton Road, Cosham, Portsmouth, PO6 4SH

Join our Partner Julia Green at this regional conference as she provides an overview of key legal developments that you should be aware of ahead of the 2021/22 academic year. Please note that this event was postponed from July 2020.

View event


Optimus MAT Summit Novotel London West, Hammersmith, London W6 8DR

Come and meet the team at Optimus’ annual conference.

View event

focus on...

Grades without exams: getting equality duties right

In the second of our three-part ‘Grades without Exams’ series, we explored the equality issues arising from the process for determining grades without exams in summer 2021.


Legal updates

Gradings without exams – arrangements for the Class of 2021

Assessment arrangements for those due to finish their level 3 studies in 2021 are being finalised at present, to create a system that is deemed to be as fair as possible and to avoid a situation where the grades are felt not to reflect the students’ capabilities and efforts.


Legal updates

Preparing to award teacher assessed grades

Schools will now be tasked with reading a vast amount of information to get themselves ready to provide teacher-assessed grades (TAGs) for students following the recent publication of the suite of Joint Council Qualifications (JCQ).


Legal updates

Everyone’s Invited – Ofsted to review safeguarding policies

Ofsted has announced that it will begin an immediate review of school safeguarding policies. It is now time that you take steps to ensure your policies and procedures are up to date.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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