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5th July 2021

Teacher Assessed Grades Update - Summer 2021

Download letter here

Monday 5 July 2021

Dear Parent/Carers 

Teacher Assessed Grades – Summer 2021


Now that all of the TAG grades have been uploaded and all the evidence gathered and secured, I wanted to share with you some final details around what you can do if you/your child are not happy with their grades.


How were my / my child’s grades arrived at this year?

Grades this summer were based on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). TAGs were submitted to the exam boards by us as a holistic assessment of students’ performance in a subject, following a rigorous process of assessment, moderation and quality assurance.  We shared the evidence we used to generate these TAGs earlier in the process and this is still available online.  Every student has signed to say they agreed with this evidence.

These grades were then approved by the relevant exam board, following Trust external quality assurance checks.

In some cases, the TAGs we submitted may have been reviewed by the exam board, who may have asked us to submit an alternative grade. However, any changes to the grades we submitted were done by professional teachers or reviewers; this year no grades have been changed as a result of an algorithm.

What do I do if I’m not happy with my / my child’s grade?

All students have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they meet the eligibility criteria (see below). It is important to note that an appeal may result in a grade being lowered, staying the same, or going up. So, if a student puts in an appeal and their grade is lowered, they will receive the lower mark.

There is also the option to resit GCSEs, A levels and some AS levels in the autumn, which may be preferrable to some students. The design, content and assessment of these papers will be the same as in a normal year.


What are the grounds for appeal?

There are four main grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). They are:

  • You think we have made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong information into a spreadsheet.
  • You think we have made a procedural error: this means we haven’t properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam board. An example of this would be where you’ve been told you should have received extra time for assessments but this wasn’t given in a certain subject.
  • You think the academic judgement on the selection of evidence was unreasonable: you think the evidence used to grade you was not reasonable.
  • You think the academic judgement on the grade you were given was unreasonable.


What does ‘unreasonable’ mean?

‘Unreasonable’ is a technical term in this context and means that no educational professional acting reasonably could have selected the same evidence or come up with the same grade.

This means that just because other forms of evidence may have been equally valid to use, the selection of evidence is not unreasonable. Because of the flexibility of the approach this year, every school and college will have used different forms of evidence.

It also means that the independent reviewers will not remark or grade students’ evidence. Instead, they will look to see whether any teacher acting reasonably could have arrived at the same grade.


What will be the outcome of an appeal?

At either stage of the appeals process (see ‘What are the two stages of an appeal?’ below), a student’s grade may go up, stay the stay, or go down. When placing an appeal, the student will have to sign a declaration saying that they accept the fact their grade may go down and they may get a lower grade than their original TAG.


What’s a priority appeal?

Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September 2021.

Priory appeals are only open to A level students starting university this autumn, who have missed out on the conditions of their firm or insurance offer.

If you decided not to confirm a firm conditional offer and to go through clearing instead, JCQ cannot offer you a priority appeal.

JCQ cannot offer priority appeals for GCSE students, unfortunately.

When making a priority appeal, students will have to include their UCAS number so it can be confirmed that it is a genuine priority appeal.


What should I do if I don’t get into my first choice of university?

First, don’t panic. Speak to a member of Leadership or the Sixth Form Team about your options. You may wish to go through clearing or sit the autumn exams or summer exams next year to try to improve your grade.

If you are going to appeal your grade, you must let your university know you are appealing. They will then let you know whether they will hold a place for you pending the outcome of an appeal (note that universities are not obliged to hold a place for you; this is at their discretion).


What should I do before appealing?

Students must read the JCQ Student and Parent guide before appealing, which will be available on the JCQ website by results days.  (You may wish to familiarise yourself with this process now - see appendix B here). We will also have copies available on the results days.

On the results day you will be able to view the evidence that we hold for you.  Just speak to a member of the leadership team who will arrange a time slot for this to happen. You will not be able to take the work away with you as it may need to be sent off to the exam board.

We may not be able to offer as much advice and guidance on the likely success of an appeal this summer as we would in normal years, as we have already moderated, and quality assured all the grades ourselves.


What are the two stages of an appeal?

All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a centre review. At this stage, we will check for any administrative errors, and check that our policies and procedures were followed correctly. Our policy has already been approved by the exam boards, so we are only ensuring that we followed this properly.

The outcome of the centre review will be communicated to students when made.

At the centre review stage, if we find that a grade should go up or down, we will ask the exam board to change it. They will then consider this request.

Following the outcome of a centre review, students may still choose to pursue an awarding organisation appeal. They must fill in a further form which we will provide upon request.  We will then send on their behalf to the exam boards. Students and parents cannot send appeals directly to the exam board themselves – it must come from us.

The outcome of the awarding organisation appeal will be communicated to students when made.


How do I make an appeal?

Following results days, students should fill in the first section of the JCQ form (appendix B) here and send it to

We are here to support our students through this process if it is needed and staff will be available to support them on as per the timeline below.  Keeping to our deadlines will ensure any necessary appeals are processed as quickly as possible.


What are the deadlines for priority appeals?

The deadline for requesting a priority appeal is 12 August 2021 (students cannot appeal before results day on 10 August 2021).

We will attempt to complete the first stage centre review by 13 August 2021*. If students wish to progress this to an awarding organisation appeal, they must send the completed form to us by 16 August for priority appeals. We will then process these by the 20 August 2021.

If these deadlines are missed, then we will not be able to process the priority appeal as a priority.

*At both stages of the appeals process, there may be the need for specialist, expert knowledge (e.g. subject teachers, SEND knowledge). This may not be possible in August. In such cases, we may have to wait until the start of term, but priority appeals will still be treated as a priority.


What are the deadlines for non-priority appeals?

Non-priority appeals are any A levels, GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm university place is not pending.

The deadline for submitting a centre review for non-priority appeals is 16 August.  Where possible, we will respond to these by 20 August 2021.  The deadline for submitting an awarding organisation appeal (stage two) is 3 September.  We will ensure these reach the exam board by 10 September 2021.

Appeals received after these dates may still be considered.


You know my  / my child’s grades. Why can’t you tell us? What if you know we haven’t met our university conditional offer?

We are forbidden from disclosing the Teacher Assessed Grades to any third party, including students and parents, until results days. Any teacher or member of staff who does this is committing exam malpractice.

Although students may have been given marks or grades on single pieces of evidence, we cannot disclose the final submitted TAG.

During the external quality assurance process taking place in June or July, our submitted TAGs may be moved up or down (although this will always be done through human agency, not by an algorithm).

We only know what a student’s conditional offer is if they have chosen to share that information with us. It has not formed part of our objective grading of students. Where we do know this information, we must not let students know their submitted TAGs, even if they haven’t met the conditions of their offer.


Key Dates

The key dates can be seen in the table below:

Deadline Date


10 August 2021

A Level results

10 August 2021

Appendix B forms available for those wanting to appeal

12 August 2021

GCSE results

12 August 2021

A Level, stage 1 Centre Review Priority Appeals must be submitted to school

13 August 2021

Priority Appeals - Centre Review answered

16 August 2021

GCSE and A Level non-priority appeals must be submitted to school

Priority Stage Two Appeals must be submitted to school

20 August 2021

Any further appeals answered

Priority Stage Two Appeals sent to exam board

3 September 2021

Stage two requests deadline (non-priority)

10 September 2021

School submit stage two appeals (non-priority) to exam board


You may also want to read through the JCQ Grading Summary they produced earlier today – please click here.


Thank you for taking the time to read through this information.  Please do not hesitate to ask any questions you have before we break up for the summer (Thursday 22 July 2021).

Yours faithfully

Simon Wade, Headteacher

Darren Cooley, Deputy Headteacher

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