Category: Vocational Qualifications

COVID-19: Information for Centres delivering RSL VQs

May 26th, 2021 by

We are aware that this is an extremely challenging time for all of our centres. Please bookmark this page to keep track of all Vocational Qualification updates and COVID-19 guidance.


Guide to Submitting Teacher Assessed Grades

We are pleased to share a video guide on how to submit Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) this 2020/21 assessment year. For further information on TAGs, please refer to the RSL VQ Approach to Awarding 20-21 Technical Document.

Update – 30th March 2021

Following our email of the 24th March, we are pleased to tell you that our guidance about awarding for this academic year is now available for centres.

Please note that this guidance applies to all learners who are completing units this year, whether ‘mid-flight’ (e.g. in their first year of a two-year qualification) or certificating.

There are three main resources that we would like to draw your attention to:

  1. RSL VQ Approach to Awarding 20-21 (Technical Document)
  2. RSL VQ Awarding 2020-21 Quick Guide for Centres
  3. RSL VQ Internal Quality Assurance Process for Centres 20-21

1) RSL VQ Approach to Awarding 20-21 (Technical Document)

This is the main document which summarises all the processes for the remainder of this academic year. There are extensive FAQs within the document which will hopefully answer any questions you may have. It is vitally important that any centres with learners who are completing units this year (whether ‘mid-flight’ or certificating) read this guidance carefully.

RSL VQ Approach to Awarding 20-21 (Technical Document)

2) RSL VQ Awarding 2020-21 Quick Guide for Centres

This guide highlights some of the key principles, themes, and steps of the process in order to help centre staff orientate themselves as they assimilate the necessary information. It does not replace the technical document and does not serve as an alternative authoritative source. Some information contained in the technical document is not reproduced in this guide, so centre representatives must also read the more detailed guidance.

RSL VQ Awarding 2020-21 Quick Guide for Centres

3) RSL VQ Internal Quality Assurance Process for Centres 20-21

This folder contains resources which centres will need for their Internal Quality Assurance processes this year, including the Head of Centre Declaration Template. More details are given in the documents mentioned above.

RSL VQ Internal Quality Assurance Process for Centres 20-21 Head of Centre Declaration

Resources from the CPD sessions

The resources from our recent CPD sessions ‘Adapting External Assessment to Internal Assessment’ should be available via the ‘Help and Support’ section of the site by the end of this week. The videos from sessions will be in the ‘CPD Events’ section and the exemplars themselves will be in the relevant folder in the ‘Exemplars’ section.

We hope that the documentation will help you to feel more confident in your approach for the rest of the academic year. Your External Quality Assurer will be able to provide you with support and you can also contact us at if you have any further questions.

Update – 17th March 2021

Following our email on the 25th February after the first Ofqual consultation, we wanted to provide a further update about the deadline for inputting grades. We will not be publishing our final guidance about how the Teacher Assessment Grade (TAG) process will operate until after the second Ofqual consultation has closed (the expectation is this will be the end of March/beginning of April) but wanted to give some clarity about the expectation of deadlines.

As you will have seen, the deadline published for GQs to submit final grades is the 18th June 2021. To make the process as simple as possible for centres delivering multiple qualifications, this will also be the date for submission of RSL grades. Please bear in mind this will apply to all grades, not just Teacher Assessed Grades and will replace the date of the 1st July 2021 which is in our Key Dates Calendar. We appreciate this removes two weeks from the calendar but it is vital that we have all grades input by that date to ensure revised processes for the extraordinary awarding process can take place.

We will provide detailed guidance about how the TAG process will work as soon as possible after the Ofqual consultation results release. In the meantime, please continue to liaise with your EQA about optional sampling or a supportive EQA meeting and continue with internal assessment where it is safe and possible to do so.

Update – 25th February 2021

The response to the first Ofqual consultation providing more details about the awarding of Vocational Qualifications in 20/21 has been published today, Thursday 25th February 2021, via their website. This will offer valuable insights into the frameworks around awarding this year. Ofqual are today launching a second consultation on the regulatory framework, which will close on the 11th March 2021. These more detailed consultation results are not expected until the end of March/beginning of April so there will be a longer wait until the entire picture is revealed. We share centre’s frustrations with the slow release of information but do feel that this initial response gives us confidence to make some positive steps towards awarding this year.

What we know so far:

TAGs (Teacher assessed grades) will be used where registered learners have been unable to complete assessment

-This applies across all RSL Vocational Qualifications

-TAGs can be applied for any registered learners expecting to sit an assessment between 1st August 2020 and 31st August 2021

-TAGs can apply to learners certificating this year, and those who are part way through their qualification.

-Results days will be w/c 9th August 2021, which is in line with our usual results release.

The approach set out by Ofqual aligns well with our current guidance and as such we would ask that centres continue their immense efforts in engaging their learners, completing assessment to the best of their ability and using the centres professional judgement as to what is appropriate to undertake. It is clear from the introduction of TAGs that while assessment evidence will play a role in awarding, incomplete assessment is expected to be commonplace and learners who have been unable to engage will be supported in their qualification attainment.


Given the incomplete nature of this year’s assessment, we feel it is appropriate to remove the sampling requirement with immediate effect. Centres will not be required to provide a sample for moderation, instead we would like to offer two alternatives that centres may make use of should they wish to:

Optional sample – centres can request a supportive sample to take place on unit(s) of their choosing. Where a sample has already been submitted by a centre, their EQA will complete the sample and provide a report.


Supportive EQA meeting – centres can arrange a meeting with their EQA to discuss their approach to qualification assessment.

Your EQA will be in touch with more details about these options and you will be able to arrange a date/time directly with them should you wish to engage with either.

N.B. sampling may be introduced as part of the certification mechanism, however based on last year’s certification process, we do not believe that this will apply to most centres.

Process for 2021

We are keen to ensure consistency with other Awarding Organisations providing Vocational Qualifications to minimise confusion for centres, and there are still many unanswered questions that will be covered in Ofqual’s second consultation. We would ask that centres be vigilant as we have seen multiple media stories containing information that is misleading or incorrect. Areas where we will provide additional guidance, following consultation, are:

-What the minimum evidential threshold will be (e.g. how much evidence must a learner have completed to be eligible for certification)

-How centres will communicate Teacher Assessed Grades to RSL

-The internal quality assurance arrangements expected of centres.

-What information centres should provide to RSL to support the results.

-How RSL will quality assure the initial Teacher Assessed Grade.

-We will send updates to centres as more information is released. We are also uploading the information on our website here -

Support material

In the meantime, we would encourage centres to continue their excellent work supporting their learners through this difficult time and to get in touch with any questions or concerns they have. We communicated support that we will be providing to centres in the coming months and will email separately about these sessions and how to engage with them. The sessions planned for March include:

-Releasing exemplar material for a selection of grades for all of the external units

-Releasing standardisation packs for all of the external units

-Hosting training for marking the external units

We hope the details here help to provide reassurance that learners will not be disadvantaged and we will continue to update you as more details become clear.

Update – 5th February 2021

Following the announcement of our move to switch the externally assessed unit to internal, we have produced guidance to demonstrate some of the changes in approach that this change will allow and respond to queries we have had from centres. The guidance can be downloaded below:

RSL VQ External Assessment to Internal Assessment Guidance

In addition to this guidance, as centres will not have marked external units before, we will be providing support to help centres in this task. This will include:

  • Releasing exemplar material for a selection of grades for all of the external units (March – Exact dates TBC)
  • Releasing standardisation packs for all of the external units (March – Exact dates TBC)
  • Hosting training for marking the external units (March – Exact dates TBC)
  • Providing editable (word versions) of the EA briefs (February 10th 2021)
  • Providing template marksheets for the external units (PDF & word) (February 10th 2021)

Details for accessing this support once released can be found in the linked ‘RSL VQ External Assessment to Internal Assessment Guidance’ document below and we will also contact all centres via email when it is available.

RSL VQ External Assessment to Internal Assessment Guidance

This applies only to centres where externally assessed unit/s are being conducted in the current assessment year. If this does not apply to your centre, please disregard this email.

We hope this additional guidance helps to provide clarification. If you have further questions which are not answered here, please contact your EQA or email us at We will provide a further update on awarding for this academic year following the results of the Ofqual consultation.

Update – 28th January 2021

Following our communication to centres on 21st January and the recent news that School and Colleges will not re-open until the 8th March at the earliest, we have a further update on the externally assessed units. We have been in constant contact with Ofqual and the Department for Education about adapting our externally assessed units for 20/21 and have agreed the approach outlined below. Our agreed approach is that we will not be cancelling the external assessment but will instead be adapting the unit to make it an internal unit.

This means:

  • The controlled conditions do not apply to any aspects of the external assessment.
  • The controlled window does not apply to the assessment of external units.

This change in the nature of assessment is intended to alleviate pressure from delivery centres and their learners, however we recognise it will not necessarily mean all learners are able to complete all assessment. Where possible, and where it is safe and practical to do so, learners should be encouraged to complete any tasks they are able to work on at home. Where this is not possible, we are confident that the measures being consulted on by Ofqual and DfE will ensure no learner will be disadvantaged.

For more details about this change, and next steps, please download the guidance document below.

RSL VQ External Assessment Update – Jan 2021

Update – 21st January 2021

Many thanks for your continued patience at this time. We appreciate that there continues to be uncertainty about the awarding of vocational qualifications in 2021.

You may have seen the published letters from the Secretary of State for Education and the reply from Ofqual’s Chief Regulator. These have been followed with the release of a joint consultation from the Department for Education and Ofqual. This closes on the 29th January, and it is likely to be several weeks after this before all the arrangements are confirmed. We would encourage you to participate in the consultation to ensure that government agencies receive as broad a range of views as possible; the details can be found here…

We will send out more detailed guidance once we have it but would like to highlight the following key points for delivery and assessment at the moment:

1. The consultation highlights that internal assessment should continue remotely wherever possible. Our guidance to continue with assessment where it is safe and practicable to do so still stands, even if this means partial completion of assessment.

2. We have noted that some awarding organisations have already cancelled their external assessment. It is, however, important to note that the consultation states that only written exams are cancelled. As our external assessment does not fall under this bracket, we cannot confirm the cancellation of external assessment at this time. There is an indication that written exams may be replaced with additional assessment, and we believe that by continuing with the external assessment which learners may have already been working on for some time, this will provide the best chance of creating valid and auditable evidence.

3. We appreciate that centres are finding some aspects of the external assessment very difficult to administer. Please see a summary of the attached adaptations that were put in place at the start of the external assessment window to reduce the controlled conditions and make remote assessment more manageable. One of the key adaptations was the removal of controlled conditions around the planning and evaluative sections of the external assessment. You will also find an updated How to Guide for 20-21 and additional Tutor Guidance in the zip files where you downloaded the external assessment briefs.

4. We understand that some aspects of the assessments may be impossible to complete as normal, and we expect that there will be students who are unable to complete evidence for a number of learning outcomes. The measures which we will introduce after having received advice from the Department and Ofqual will ensure that learners are not disadvantaged.

Please be assured that we are as keen as you to have a clear way forward and, as we did last academic year, we will communicate with you as soon as we have additional guidance. For now, the message is to continue with assessment wherever possible as a wealth of assessment evidence for learners can only support awarding this year.

Update – 5th January 2021

We hope you are all safe and well at this challenging time. Under the new lockdown conditions put in place from the 5th January and the communication from government that not all exams will be able to go ahead as planned, we feel it is important to keep you updated with our current understanding and likely next steps.

We expect it will take a number of weeks for all awarding bodies and government agencies to understand the best approach to assessment this academic year. RSL Awards took a very active role during the first national lockdown and we will continue to ensure that the nuances of awarding the creative and performing arts are considered at the highest level. Unfortunately, we are unable to give you any more detail on the approach to grading at the moment.

Until further notice we advise that you carry on with teaching, learning and assessment as close to normal as you can under the guidance we released in December, and in line with current government guidance. Whatever next steps are agreed, having a good level of auditable evidence will be highly useful.

For centres who work with Performance Table Qualifications that have external coursework assessment scheduled for January onwards, the latest guidance from the government indicates that ‘Public exams and vocational assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned’. However, this does not give clear guidance on practical assessment and assessment that requires extended attendance with access to specialist equipment. We are currently seeking guidance from Ofqual and the Department for Education, aiming to ensure they know the specialist requirements our subject areas demand.

If you can, please complete this very short survey regarding your progress through the qualification. This data will be useful in ensuring government agencies are aware of the impact of both this academic year and the last. Please use the comments box on the survey to respond to this message.

Update – 4th December 2020

As you may have seen yesterday, the DfE announced further adaptations to General Qualifications in 2020/21. Awarding Bodies are now working with the DfE and Ofqual to determine how these further adaptations may be applied to Vocational Qualifications, allowing learners to achieve to their fullest despite the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

RSL Awards have developed proposals for DfE approval on how we can further adjust our qualifications to ensure parity with equivalent qualifications. As this announcement is in its early stages, and while we are waiting for DfE to publish their updated performance tables guidance, we are not currently in a position to confirm the specifics of any further adaptations. Once we have received feedback from the relevant organisations, we will communicate this to centres as soon as possible.

Please be assured that we want to minimise any further disruption to an already challenging academic year and any additional adaptations will be designed to minimise burden. We appreciate any changes during an academic year are frustrating and that centres will need to know updated information as soon as it is possible. Until we are able to update you with our proposals, we ask that you continue to deliver the qualifications in accordance with our most recent guidance.

Update – 3rd November 2020

We have today sent an email to approved centres which includes:

  • Update to Application for Proposed Adaptations for Internally Assessed Units
  • Guidance for Internally Assessed Units
  • Assessment Planning for 20/21 – Deadline Thursday 5th November 2020
  • Deadline for Making Learner Registrations – Friday 6th November 2020
  • External Assessment Brief Release
  • CPD Sessions

As there are number of updates, we have collated them all into one document to make it clearer to read. You can download the document below…

RSL VQ Updates – November 2020

Ofqual Consultation – 14th October 2020

We are pleased to tell you that Ofqual have ended their consultation about the Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework, details of which can be found here…

This means that we are able to confirm our proposed adaptation for internal units only. Please refer to our ‘RSL VQ Internal Assessment Adaptations 2020-21’ document for specific details of the adaptations allowed.

RSL VQ Internal Assessment Adaptations 2020-21

The DfE have still not confirmed the requirements surrounding performance table qualifications, which means we are unable to confirm whether our proposals for controlled external assessment will be acceptable. We appreciate this is extremely frustrating given how close we are to the release of the Controlled External Assessment Briefs and can assure you we share your frustrations. As soon as we have confirmation from the DfE, we will communicate this to you. For now, please plan as though the usual controlled conditions will be in place.

In addition to the adaptations we have outlined, RSL has also brought in a new process for centres to propose adaptations that fall outside of our guidance, which is only to be used if a centre has no other way of conducting assessment. This will apply for internally assessed units only. You do not need to submit a form to implement any of the adaptations described in the attached ‘RSL 2021 Proposed Adaptations for Delivery and Assessment’ document, this process is just for any additional adaptations that are absolutely necessary for assessment to take place.

Your External Quality Assurer will be able to discuss possible adaptations with you but all adaptations will need to be signed off at Head Office to ensure consistency. In order to propose an adaptation for your centre, please complete the ‘RSL VQ Application for Proposed Adaptations for 2021’ form and return to The proposed adaptations will be reviewed by RSL’s Academic Team and a response sent within 10 working days of receipt. To ensure an adaptation can be agreed in a timely manner, please submit your proposals as soon as possible and at least 10 working days prior to starting assessment. Please note that in order to ensure consistency across all centres, we will not be able to discuss adaptation proposals over the phone and all requests will need to be put in writing.

RSL VQ Application for Proposed Adaptations for 2021 RSL VQ Internal Assessment Adaptations 2020-21

Head of Centre Declaration – 23rd June 2020

In our guidance, we identified that centre assessment grades had to be signed off within the centre before submission to RSL and centres must keep a record of the process. Following additional advice from Ofqual, we now require an additional declaration to be submitted, which can be downloaded below.

A new document type has been created in the site specifically for this document. Please only use the document type ‘Head of Centre Declaration for Centre Assessment Grades.’ If another heading is used, the document may be missed and your centre may risk being delayed certification. Please complete and upload this document by Monday 29th June 2020.

RSL Head of Centre Declaration for Centre Assessment Grades

We are pleased to announce you will be able to input your centre assessment grades to the site at, using your usual logon details as of Monday 1st June 2020. The window for inputting centre assessment grades is 1st June – 12th June 2020.

We have adapted our usual grade input system at to allow for centre assessment grades and have updated our guidance in a How to Guide. We are hoping that amending our current system will make the process of inputting grades smoother for centres as it is a system you are familiar with.

Inputting Centre Assessment Grades – How To Guide

If you have not already, please ensure you refer to Ofqual guidance about centre assessment grades, particularly their ‘Guidance for Heads of Centre, Heads of Department and teachers on objectivity in grading and ranking’ which can be found here…

We are pleased to share two of four narrated presentations around the recent guidance for VQ certification this year.

This first presentation gives a brief overview of certification, the new terminology being used, timelines for certification, as well as information on the upcoming data collection activity including the submission of Centre Assessment Grades.

This second presentation gives an overview of the quality assurance flowchart, along with a more detailed look at Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the quality assurance process.

Our third presentation offers guidance on RSL’s approach to moderation and the statistical analysis that will take place following the moderation stage.

Please find below the fourth and final narrated presentation guiding centres through the recent guidance for VQ certification this year. This final presentation offers guidance on the RSL Assessment Board and the different actions RSL may take following this board that lead to certification.

Please make sure to share these presentations, and the associated guidance documentation, with any colleagues at your centre who will be involved in the certification process. Please also see the YouTube descriptions to see timings for particular slides.

Update: 21st May 2020

Guidance on Certification

Following our last correspondence to you on the 15th May 2020, we are writing to you to share our detailed guidance regarding certification for this year. We have put together two documents to support you with the process for this year.

The first is ‘VQ Summary of Actions for Certification.’ This is a concise summary of the timelines and the steps that centres will need to take in order to certificate learners this year. This document is designed as an overview.

RSL VQ Summary of Actions for Certification

The second is a technical document, ‘RSL Centre Guide for Certification for the Academic Year 2019-20.’ This is a significantly more detailed document which outlines all the processes that will be followed this academic year.

RSL VQ Centre Guide to Certification for Academic Year 2019-20

There are also a large number of FAQs, which we hope will answer any questions you may have.

Our IT team are continuing to work on the development of our submission system for the input of grades and we will update centres when this is available. We anticipate that this function will be available sooner than 1st June and as soon as our system is ready, we will contact all centres to let them know it is available to input the grades. Please do not input any grades until we ask you to.

We will be creating a series of short videos to support the written documentation, which will summarise each of the stages. We will let centres know when they are available.

If you have a question that cannot be answered by our FAQs, please contact the team via

External Assessment Feedback

This section of the email is in regards to centres with learners registered to complete externally assessed units this academic year. If this does not apply to you, please disregard this section.

As we confirmed to you previously, centres will need to produce centre assessment grades for units which under ‘normal’ circumstances would be externally assessed. To support centres with generating centre assessment grades for externally assessed units, RSL External Assessors have reviewed the evidence submitted for outcomes which were identified by centres as complete. RSL External Assessors have provided feedback and provisional grades for these learning outcomes, which can be used to support centre assessment grades for the external units. These provisional grades will not be input into the RSL system and feedback sheets will be available for centres to download via the External Assessment section of the site, on the published external assessment results day of 21st May 2020. Please click here to find the previously sent FAQs which include a section on external assessment which will hopefully answer a number of your questions.

To download the feedback sheets, the simplest way will be to download a ZIP file via the ‘External Assessments’ tool.

  • Select ‘External Assessments’ from the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the screen
  • Select the ‘External Assessment Results’ button then follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Alternatively, follow this link (you will need to sign in) and select the ‘External Assessment Results’ button.

While every endeavour has been made to review outcomes marked as complete by centres, there may be some instances where a learner has not been reviewed or an incomplete outcome reviewed where it should not have been. As all feedback is in support of centre assessment grades, RSL assessors will not be reviewing any more learner work and any unseen evidence can be used to support centre assessment grades where you feel it is indicative of the relevant grade for that learner.

Where evidence uploaded was inaccessible, we have not asked centres to reupload evidence as centres would be generating centre assessment grades. It was felt the time taken to reupload the evidence (often large video files) would be unnecessary when centres would be generating the grades themselves. If this applies to your centre, you should have received an email from us about it.

Thank you for your continued patience during this difficult time.

Update: 15th March 2020

Following our correspondence on the 5th May 2020, we would like to provide you with an update on the certification of RSL qualifications this year. On the 14th May 2020, Ofqual published their Guidance for Centres for awarding vocational qualifications which you can find here…

In our communication of the 5th May 2020, we confirmed centres will be asked to produce centre assessment grades for each learning outcome for each unit completed this year, and asked centres to focus on internally assessed units. We can now confirm that this approach will also apply to units which, under ‘normal’ circumstances, would be externally assessed.

To support centres with generating centre assessment grades for externally assessed units, RSL External Assessors have reviewed the evidence submitted for outcomes which were identified by centres as complete. RSL External Assessors have provided feedback and provisional grades for these learning outcomes, which can be used to support centre assessment grades for the external units. These provisional grades will not be input into the RSL system and feedback sheets will be available for centres to download via the External Assessment section of the site, on the published external assessment results day of 21st May 2020.

Centres will need to input their centre assessment grades for the externally assessed units in the same way as for internal units. We will update centres when our systems are ready to accept these grades, which will be by the 1st June 2020 at the latest.

For centres who submitted a sample for EQA before lockdown but have not yet had their report, any sampling reports which have been completed but not yet released will be made available to centres on 21st May 2020.

Since centre closures, RSL have been working diligently to produce a plan and support for centres to ensure as many learners can be certificated this summer as possible. Following the additional guidance released by Ofqual, and the end of their consultation on 8th May 2020, we are currently finalising our guidance for centres to ensure it reflects the most up to date information, provides as much detail and answers as many of your questions as it can. We will be making the guidance available to centres on Thursday 21st May 2020 via email and also on this web page.

We appreciate centres are anxious to read the plans for certification and to support further, we have updated the FAQs we sent on the 5th May 2020, available via the button below. Please ensure you read the document carefully and pass on to any members of staff who may need this information.

The deadline we set out in our email of the 5th May for submitting centre assessment grades between 1st and 12th June 2020 still stands and our IT team are working to ensure our system is able to support the new process of centre assessment grades.

RSL Awards Guidance for VQ Centre Assessment Grades

Please do not hesitate to contact us via

Update: 5th March 2020

Since the beginning of the lockdown period and the announcement that GCSE and A’ Level examinations would be cancelled for the academic year 2019/20, RSL has been working with Ofqual and other UK regulators to reach a solution which allows learners to progress on to further or higher education or into the workplace with the vocational qualifications and certificates they have worked so hard to achieve.

Paramount in RSL’s approach is that no learner should be disadvantaged by circumstances beyond their control, and at every stage during the formulation of our approach this has been at the forefront of our minds.

RSL has now made Ofqual aware of its plan to calculate results and how we will approach the formulation of those grades. We await the conclusion of Ofqual’s consultation on ‘Exceptional Arrangements for Assessment and Grading in 2020’, the deadline for which is May 8th 2020.

In advance of the feedback from the consultation, please read the statement below which outlines our approach and what steps you can begin to take in preparation for submitting data to RSL.

RSL Awards Guidance for VQ Centre Assessment Grades

In the meantime if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us via

Free VQ Remote CPD Sessions – March 2021

March 12th, 2021 by

In February, we announced that we would be delivering free remote CPD sessions and releasing exemplar materials for the external assessment sessions.

These are intended to support centres with assessment following the adaptation of these external units to internal units. We are pleased to tell you that these sessions are now live to book.

We appreciate that not everybody will be able to attend the sessions due to timetable restrictions so each event will be recorded and released via the ‘Help and Support’ section of the RSL Cloud site once all the CPD sessions have finished. The exemplar materials will be made available at the same time.

The events are one-hour online information sessions with an opportunity for questions at the end. The agenda will include guidance, example approaches including a review of exemplars and the opportunity to ask questions.

To book onto a session, please select the appropriate link below:

We look forward to seeing you there.

For more information about all our Vocational Qualifications, please click here…

Vocational Qualifications Results Day 2020!

August 12th, 2020 by

Congratulations to all of the 10,000+ learners from the 350+ schools and colleges across the UK who will all be receiving their RSL VQ results on Thursday 13th August 2020!

As a response to the COVID crisis, all exams due to take place in schools and colleges this summer were cancelled. Ofqual was tasked with establishing two temporary regulatory frameworks – one for General Qualifications (GQs) and one for Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs).

Each awarding organisation was tasked with adapting their own qualifications in line with the Ofqual framework. Please watch the video and keep reading below for more information on how results were awarded this academic year.

Where can I access my results?

All results will be released directly to Schools, Colleges and Training Providers on Thursday 13th August. Your centre will share these results and be on hand to discuss them with you. We cannot give out grades over the phone or by email.

Have my grades been adjusted?

Very few grades have been adjusted through the processes this academic year. All adjusted grades have been agreed by teachers at centres.


We have communicated all Level 3 grades to UCAS. If you have a concern about progression into Higher Education, please contact UCAS directly.

How did we make sure grades were correct?

Stage 1

Firstly, we consolidated what had already been achieved by learners this academic year. Many centres had lots of learner work that had already been looked at by RSL. This work was used as the starting point for grades in 2020, we called them ‘Banked Grades’.

Stage 2

We asked centres to estimate the grades learners would have achieved for the rest of the qualification. Teachers estimated grades for individual learning outcomes, not at qualification level, giving a much more detailed picture of student performance. These were called ‘Centre Assessment Grades’ or ‘CAGs’ for short.

Using a combination of ‘Banked’ and ‘Centre Assessment’ grades we were able to come up with accurate grades for each learner’s qualification

Stage 3

We checked the centre assessment grades against the banked grades already achieved by learners – looking for anything unusual, such as large differences between the banked grades and centre assessment grades.

We also checked every centre’s results and compared them to their previous awarding to see if there were any noticeable changes in achievement.

Stage 4

We asked centres whether they agreed with our judgements and gave them the opportunity to supply further evidence to support learner grades.

We asked centres to agree where grades were moderated up or down and sign this off as being an accurate representation of that learner’s achievement.

Stage 5

At the start of the process we reserved the right to change grades further, should the results look very different from previous years. However, we are happy to report that due to the level of evidence available from learners we did not need to use this step and no additional grade adjustments were required.

Our Results

As such, we are pleased to say that we have not made adjustment to learner grades this academic year.

Next Steps

This has been a very unusual academic year and because of that, we understand that learners may have concern over the results they receive.

If an individual learner is unhappy with the grades they receive, there are two options available.

Firstly, an autumn assessment window.

At the start of the next academic year, we will let centres know how they can run extra assessments in the autumn. It will be up to the centre whether they make this opportunity available.

The second option is to appeal the grade on the grounds that something went wrong in the process followed (not the result itself).

How can I appeal?

  • You should speak to your school or college if you think you might have reason to appeal. Schools and colleges can submit an appeal on your behalf.
  • Remember that if you appeal your grade, it can go up, down or stay the same.
  • If you are unhappy with the outcome of the appeals process, you can make a complaint to Ofqual.
  • If you have concerns about bias, discrimination or something else that suggests that your school or college did not behave with care or integrity when determining a centre assessment grade or providing evidence to the awarding organisation, you should normally raise these concerns with your school or college in the first instance, if you still have concerns you can raise this directly with us at RSL Awards (please find our contact details below).

What can be appealed?

  • Centres can appeal on behalf of learners on the basis that it has used incorrect information or that procedures were not followed properly and fairly in arriving at a calculated result.
  • Individual learners and/or groups of learners may also appeal on the basis that the centre has failed to follow a procedure properly and fairly, including any issue in relation to bias or discrimination on the part of a Centre in following a procedure.
  • Appeals will not be considered from individual learners about the professional judgements of individual teachers, tutors or trainers which have been taken into account in the calculation of a result.


Here are a list of links to further useful resources:

Contact Us

If the above does not address your particular issue, please contact our VQ Team directly:

To all learners reading this: please speak to your centre directly and they will guide you through the process outlined above.

The RSL Team

Maintaining a balanced curriculum with RSL’s Vocational Qualifications

July 16th, 2020 by

As we progress towards the new academic year following what will have been a tumultuous 6 months of uncertainty, the conversation about the shape of the curriculum for this coming year is increasingly prominent.

Many will have seen the concern expressed by a number of headteachers about the feasibility of continuing on ‘as normal’ with GCSEs and A-Levels, with the expectation that learners will take their full set of examinations in the Summer of 2021 as planned prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadly, the narrative often turns to the reduction of GCSE subjects, with the Arts being identified as one of the primary victims.

As an awarding body specialising in the Creative Industries, here at RSL Awards we see the positive impact of Arts education every day, be it in the form of a graded exam in Music or Dance, or in the schools, colleges and training providers working towards our practically-focused Vocational Qualifications.

Since their inception in 2005, RSL’s Vocational Qualifications have become a popular alternative to the more traditional GCSE qualifications in Music, Dance and Drama. Equivalent in size to a GCSE, our Tech Awards are practical, creative and accessible to a wide range of learners, whilst retaining rigour and recognition. Instead of a written examination, these qualifications contain a controlled assessment in the Spring Term, alleviating some of the pressure of the end-loaded Summer exam period. With these qualifications potentially complete by the beginning of the Summer Term, learners are then able to focus on core curriculum at the climax of the academic year.

Our Tech Awards carry Progress 8 points and sit in the Open Bucket alongside GCSEs in Music, Dance and Drama, offering equivalent value for the learner and for the school. Where these GCSEs are in danger of exclusion from the curriculum, the Tech Awards offer a solution that allows learners to balance core learning with the fundamental personal development offered through experiential creative learning.

“In terms of data, Pupil Progress has improved dramatically and department residuals have been in the top 3 in school for the last 4 years. RSL assessment focuses on what the pupils can do, rather than penalising them for what they can’t. We now offer L1 and L2 Music Performance, L2 Technology & Composition and L2 Creative and Performing Arts (Acting). Staff and pupils really enjoy the RSL VQs and they have allowed us to tailor our curriculum provision so that it is relevant, accessible and purposeful to all our pupils, enabling them to be the best they can be.”

Claire Maud (Head of Performing Arts, Clifton Community School) – excerpt taken from a recently published article in Music Teacher Magazine (June 2020).

Rightly so, there is an increased focus on the mental health of learners returning to schools and colleges in September. Disruption has been experienced by everyone and will have affected people in a number of different ways, but we now need to do what we can to allow these learners to return to relative normality and to the balanced curriculum they deserve. The collaborative learning experienced through the Arts builds a sense of community that is arguably now more pertinent than ever before. A creative curriculum encourages both independence and teamwork, and builds confidence and communication through self-expression. This essential learning paves the way for those wanting to continue in the Creative Industries; a sector that contributed £111.7bn to the UK economy in 2018.

“The arts help young people flourish. Evidence shows that children who study the arts tend to do better in other subjects; they are more likely to attend university, and are more employable.”

ImagineNation: The value of Cultural Learning, Cultural Learning Alliance (2017)

For more information on our Vocational Qualifications, please fill in the form below or contact

Syllabus specifications for our Tech Award qualifications can be downloaded by clicking on the following links:

Music Practitioners – Pathways in Performance or Technology & Composition

Level 1 & 2 Tech Awards for Music Practitioners (Confirmed for DfE Performance Tables)

Creative and Performing Arts – Pathways in Acting or Dance

Level 1 & 2 Tech Awards in Creative and Performing Arts (Confirmed for DfE Performance Tables)

All other syllabus downloads can be found here…

“Cultural and arts education underpin success in life, work and society. I’m convinced that it is as important to ensure our best scientists and technologists understand the importance of creative skills as it is for our best creatives to contribute to science and technology. The digital world of the 21st century is crying out for well-rounded students who can see that a separation of STEM from culture and arts simply doesn’t make sense anymore.”

Mary Curnock Cook – Chief Executive, UCAS (2017)

For more information on our Vocational Qualifications, please fill in the form below contact


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    SUPAJAM: changing young lives with specialised music education

    August 9th, 2018 by

    SupaJam: Encouraging young people to build a bright future through Music Education

    SupaJam is a multi-award-winning specialist education provider for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people aged 16-18 and 19+, with Special Educational Needs and Educational Health Care Plans. SupaJam have chosen to take a different approach when it comes to helping young people, by using music to advance the educational development of those with special educational needs.

    Founders Nick Stillwell and David Court are dedicated to the work they do and funded the school themselves for two years before it was officially recognised. The institution was initially formed to help aid six local teenagers. The program has now grown to over 70 pupils who are receiving life-changing support from industry professionals, which include safeguarding specialists and one-to-one tutors in Math and English.

    “These kids are too young to abandon, this is our society and we have to fight for them.”
    Nick Stillwell, Founder

    This is not your ordinary education institution, for a start everyone at SupaJam gets to meet and learn from top people in the industry. Bassist Guy PrattPink Floyd often attends SupaJam to deliver workshops that aim to boost student’s motivation skills and inspire them to follow the footsteps of their favourite artists.

    SupaJam currently offer pupils RSL Music Practitioners Diplomas at Levels 1, 2 and 3, which carry UCAS points for university applications, and span the breadth of job roles within the industry. Last year the first three SupaJam graduates were accepted into university: an extremely proud moment for the school, with many more going directly into the industry of their chosen field.  All this success have recently helped the SupaJam gain a lot of well deserved media attention.  They have already been featured in the Guardian and several broadcasters have pitched the possibility of developing a documentary about the project.

    SupaJam student recording session

    The founders have big plans for SupaJam. Not only do they want to continue to help as many young people as possible in the region, they are planning to take the project nationwide, improving many more young lives in the process.



    A Mercury nomination for RSL Alumni!

    August 1st, 2018 by

     RSL Alumni on the 2018 Mercury Prize nomination list! 


    Wolf Alice, the high flying, alt-rock London four-piece, received their very first Mercury Nomination this month. Guitarist, Joff Oddie, studied RSL VQ’s Level 2 Music Practitioners Diploma during his time at Callington Community College.

    The band were recently in attendance at the Prize Launch event with all the other 2018 nominees, such as Florence & The Machine , Jorja Smith , Arctic Monkeys , and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds . For a comprehensive breakdown of each of the nominated artists for this year, just click here.

    The Mercury Prize is an annual music award that votes on the best album released in the UK and Ireland. The Mercury prize is open to all types of music including, pop, rock, folk, urban, grime, dance, jazz, blues, electronica and classical. Past winners of the award include era defining acts such as: BlurOasisEd SheeranThe Chemical BrothersArtic Monkeys and Amy Winehouse.

    This year’s Mercury Prize Awards will be held at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on September 14th and everyone at RSL are keeping their fingers crossed, not just for Joff – but for Ellie, Theo and Joel too.

    Wolf Alice at the 2018 Mercury Prize Launch.



    Vocational Qualifications: Music Practitioners

    June 26th, 2018 by


    There has been a significant rise in the popularity of Vocational Qualifications. More and more people are now taking VQ courses because it enables them to apply their practical knowledge to structured, theoretical subjects. In the creative industries, both experience and competence are the two primary qualities that will attract potential employers; and in today’s super-competitive job market, practical learning is as highly desired as ever.

    Studying these subjects in this manner is a unique opportunity; whilst some learners flourish in a traditional academic model, others prefer to learn the practical skills that will enable them to apply themselves in real world scenarios from the very start of their respective careers. Not only does this help the learner attain a recognised qualification, but there is a lot to be said for what it can do for learners on a personal level, such as develop a pragmatic work ethic, the ability to self-motivate, and a heightened self-confidence.

    Music Practitioners

    Catering for schools, colleges and training providers at over 350 centres throughout the UK, RSL’s VQ’s are a market leader in conjunction with our Graded Music Exams.

    Music Practitioners qualifications offer over 140 units across levels 1, 2, and 3; covering subjects that provide each learner with the ideal platform to develop the necessary skills they need to gain experience for their chosen career path.

    The Music Practitioners qualification also contributes to DfE (Department of Education) performance measures, carries UCAS points for HE applications, and provides practical, relevant, accessible pathways into the creative industries.


    All of our qualifications are based on the assessment of practical skills and knowledge.


    Build your qualification with a choice of 350 units across three unique qualification suites.


    Current industry trends will always be covered in RSL’s regularly updated specifications.

    Industry Focused

    Written by leading industry specialists and education professionals.

    Performance Tables

    RSL has a range of qualifications which contribute to school and college performance measures.


    RSL’s Vocational Qualifications attract funding from the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency).

    Find out more about Music Practitioners here >>

    Queens Awards 2018

    April 21st, 2018 by

    RSL wins the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade!

    We are delighted and proud to announce that we have won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade! We feel honoured that RSL received recognition and appreciation for the achievements it has accomplished through the years.

    Established in 1965 , the Queen’s Award for Enterprise celebrates the UK’s small and medium sized businesses. Widely regarded as the most prestigious business awards in the country, the 2018 award marks the 52nd anniversary of the scheme.

    A presentation ceremony will be conducted at RSL HQ by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County as HM The Queen’s representative. Additionally, HM The Queen will host a reception at Buckingham Palace for representatives of the winning companies on the 28th June 2018, with Founder Norton York and RSL’s CEO, John Simpson, in attendance on behalf of the company.



    March 15th, 2018 by


    We are excited to be exhibiting at the NEC Education Show on the 15-16th of March, 2018.  Join a variety of talented professionals from the education industry ranging from: thought leaders, exhibitors, sponsors and trade buyers. This is a great opportunity for schools, colleges and training provider representatives to develop ideas and reflect on their current strategies.

    The Education Show is known for helping to bring classrooms to life, and we will be there sharing our own top tips and advice to help you further inspire the next generation of learners. Our team will also be discussing the wider benefits of Rockschool Graded Music Exams, Vocational Qualification’s and Performance Arts Awards: tailor-made qualifications for all-comers.

    There will be some great seminars across both days; brought to you by informed, enthusiastic education professionals, with a wealth of experience in the sector. Click here to see the full seminar programme to find the talks that best address your interests.

    Seminars include: