Awarding Grades 2021  

Updated 11th August 2021 to include link to JCQ advice on appeals

This page is an overview of the most important information that you and your parents or guardians need to know about how the process at Kimberley School this summer.

Documentation published by government organisations overseeing the process:

Documentation shared with parents and students by the Kimberley School

  • A video briefing from the Head Teacher on the 4th March

  • The school's Centre Policy which sets out the approach that we will follow when awarding grades in 2021

  • A letter to Year 11 students sent on 26th May setting out the arrangements in place after the May half term

  • An infographic timeline/checklist for students published by JCQ in July 2021 which sets out what has happened so far and what happens next.



Results Days

How do students appeal their grade?

  • 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. These grades were then approved by the relevant exam board, following external quality assurance checks. This year no grades have been changed as a result of an algorithm.

  • 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.  If you wish to resit a qualification then you must notify the exams team on by the 4th October for GCSE and the 8th September for A-Levels 

  • There are five 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 centre policy, 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.


  • ‘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.


  • It is not possible to withdraw an appeal once a decision has been made.If the outcome of the appeal is that the grade is lowered, students are not able to withdraw their appeal and revert to their original grade.


  • Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September. Priority appeals are only open to Sixth Form 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 our Sixth Form team about your options. You may wish to go through clearing, or sit the autumn exams (see above) 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 should read the JCQ Appeals Guide before submitting an appeal.   Please be aware that school staff will 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.

  • There are three stages to the appeals process.  Stage One – Centre Reviews.  Stage 2 – Appeals to the Awarding Organisation.   Stage 3 - procedural review to the Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS).   Stage 2 cannot start until stage 1has been completed.  Stage 3 cannot start until stage 2 is completed.


Stage One – Centre Reviews


Who can request a review and when?  Any student may submit a request for a centre review on the grounds that the school has:

  • failed to follow our procedures as set out in the centre policy properly or consistently; and/or

  • made an administrative error in relation to the result.


How does a student submit a request for a Centre Review? The student should complete section A of the student request form.  This should be submitted by email to .  In order for us to verify the identity of the student this should be submitted using the students’ school email account.  Please note if you are requesting a Centre Review for more than one grade then you will need to submit a student request form for each subject.


What is the deadline for submitting a Centre Review to the school? At the latest the student request form should be submitted by:

  • 16th August 2021 for priority appeals

  • 3rd September 2021 for all other appeals


Can a student withdraw a request for a Centre Review? Yes they can do so by emailing from their school email account.  However, a request for a centre review cannot be made once a finding has been made.


What will happen when a request for a Centre Review is made?  We will:

  • Review the reason presented by the student for the review

  • Review if an administrative error has been made. 

  • Review if a procedural error has been made.  I.e. the school did not follow the process in the centre policy


When will the student receive the outcome of Centre Review? Once the review is complete the school will complete section B of the student request form and will send this by email to the student’s email account.  This will be done as soon as possible but at the latest by:

  • Thursday 19th August 2021 for priority appeals

  • Friday 10th September 2021 for all other appeals



Stage 2 – Appeals to the Awarding Organisation


Who can submit an appeal to the awarding organisation? Students can only submit an appeal to the awarding organisation after they have received the outcome of their centre review and after the publication of results


There are three reasons students can appeal to the awarding organisation.   These are that the student believes:

  1. there has been a procedural error; or

  2. there has been an administrative error; or

  3. their grade reflects an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement

How does a student submit an appeal to the awarding organisation? The student should use the Student Request Form where section A has been completed by the student and section B completed by the school/centre.  The student should complete Section C and submit the form by email to using their own school email account.  Forms that are submitted without section A and section B being complete will not be accepted.  Students are not able to submit the appeal directly to the awarding organisation this must be done through the school

What is the deadline for submitting an appeal to the awarding organisation?

  • 22nd August 2021 for priority appeals

  • 16th September 2021 for all other appeals


What happens when this appeal is submitted? Once the awarding organisation has considered the appeal they will write to the student and set out the outcome of the awarding organisation appeal and, where appropriate the next stage of the process.  This information will be sent to Kimberley School who will forward the outcome letter to students’ email account promptly.


When will students receive a response to an appeal to the awarding organisation? JCQ set out that:

“For priority appeals where a higher education place is dependent on the outcome of the appeal, awarding organisations will aim to process these appeals by the UCAS advisory deadline of 08 September 2021, providing the appeal is submitted to the relevant awarding organisation by 23rd August 2021. Priority appeals that aren’t submitted to the awarding organisation by 23 August 2021 will still be treated as a priority and awarding organisations will endeavour to process them as promptly as possible. There is, however, a risk they may not be completed in time for those with a higher education place dependent on the outcome of the appeal. Centres should contact the awarding organisation if, in exceptional circumstances, they are unable to meet this deadline. For non-priority appeals awarding organisations will aim to complete the process within 42 calendar days of receipt of the application. Due to the nature of appeals this year, awarding organisations may require additional input from centres, and it may not always be possible to meet these timescales.”


Stage 3 - Following the conclusion of the awarding organisation's appeal process, a student who remains concerned their grade was incorrect may be able to apply for a procedural review to the Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) from the relevant regulator.