Ofqual announces steps to secure parity for students taking vocational qualifications

Building on the success of the 2023 action plan, Ofqual confirms measures that will embed the timely delivery of vocational results

Ofqual has today announced measures to ensure students taking vocational qualifications  get their results on time in 2024 and beyond, following the success of this year.

The measures are part of Ofqual’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that students taking vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs), in subjects such as engineering, health & social care and digital media, have parity of treatment with those taking A levels or GCSEs.    

Following the implementation of the VTQ Results Action Plan for 2023, students taking Level 3 VTQs successfully received their results when they expected them in August, after around 20,000 did not the previous year. More than 378,000 results were issued on time to students in summer 2023, across over 575 qualifications. This meant that students were able to progress, confirming their university places at the same time as their peers taking A levels. 

Today’s measures will embed and strengthen this year’s arrangements in response to feedback from schools and colleges, awarding organisations, exams officers and education leaders.     

Details of the measures are confirmed in a letter sent by Ofqual today to schools and colleges. They include:

  • A term-time checkpoint  for schools and colleges to confirm which students need a result in August to progress to higher or further education
  • Awarding organisations will issue results on or before A level and GCSE results days, as appropriate.  Results will be provided to schools and colleges in advance, in sufficient time for exams officers to check and prepare them for final release to students
  • Level 1/2 and Level 2 qualifications used for progression will be included in the term-time checkpoint and results issue arrangements to ensure students taking qualifications alongside GCSEs also receive their results when they need them
  • Ofqual’s VTQ Information Hub will bring together key dates and deadlines from a wider range of awarding organisations, to support school and college staff working in the administration or delivery of these qualifications
  • Ofqual will continue to work with awarding organisations to encourage clear, timely, precise and consistent communications
  • Ofqual will convene a VTQ Results Group, building on the successful work of the Taskforce established in 2023, to bring together key sector representatives and awarding organisations to ensure timely results for students

Ofqual’s  Chief Regulator Dr Jo Saxton said:

"Ofqual remains committed to strengthening and improving the VTQ system, in order to secure parity of treatment for all students, whichever regulated qualification they take. One unexpected late result is one too many.

"This year’s success was thanks to the hard work of teachers and exams officers in schools and colleges as well as awarding organisations. Introducing a new process was challenging but worthwhile, as students got their results on time. The sector rose to the challenge. More can now be done to embed and streamline these improvements, so I’m pleased we’ve strengthened the process for 2024 and beyond."