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  • Sunday, 14 July 2024

Ofqual Announces Intentions To Fine Exam Board NCFE £300,000

Ofqual Announces Intentions To Fine Exam Board NCFE £300,000

Ofqual has announced plans to fine the exam board, Northern Council for Further Education (NCFE), £300,000 over major issues with its T-level exam papers in 2022 in a statement today. 

 


What are T-Levels?

The T-levels, introduced in 2020, are equivalent to three A-levels and were designed to meet industry needs and prepare students for work. However, issues such as low take-up and high dropout rates have led to calls for a review of the qualification. 


 

NCFE, which offers vocational and technical qualifications, had to withdraw, recalculate, and reissue around 1,200 exam results. Over 700 students received amended grades after the intervention.

 

Ofqual's investigation found multiple breaches of the Conditions of Recognition - the rules that awarding organisations must follow. These breaches included not adhering to proper processes and failing to manage risks affecting assessment delivery.

 

David Gallagher, NCFE’s chief executive, has apologised to students, providers, and parents for the issues. He stated that NCFE has taken steps to ensure such problems do not happen again, including enhancing quality assurance and risk management systems. Gallagher emphasised NCFE’s commitment to working collaboratively with Ofqual to improve their processes.

 

Ofqual Executive Director Catherine Large stressed the seriousness of the case. “Where regulatory requirements are not met by an awarding organisation, we can and will step in and take the necessary action, including issuing significant fines such as this one,” she said. Large added that NCFE has cooperated throughout the investigation and is committed to making significant improvements.

 

NCFE has committed to a multi-million-pound transformation program to improve its systems and processes. This includes introducing new experts and resources, as well as enhancing training and guidance to prevent future issues.

 

Ofqual's notice of intention to fine sets out how interested parties can make representations before a final decision is made. This fine follows previous significant penalties, such as a £1.2 million fine issued to Pearson in June 2022 for issues with exams held between 2016 and 2019.

 

This situation highlights the importance of maintaining rigorous standards in exam assessments to ensure that students can trust their results and qualifications.

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