How Qualifications Will Be Awarded | Highfield | Highfield Qualifications

How Highfield qualifications will be awarded in 2021

Following a recent consultation with Ofqual and the Department for Education on alternative arrangements for exams and assessments that cannot go ahead as planned due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Guidance has now been published to support centres and learners to continue to achieve their qualifications wherever possible during this difficult time.

Download the below documents for more information.


Information for Centres relating to undertaking assessments after 31 August 2021

Highfield would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our centres for their continued patience and support throughout the last 18 months. It has been a particularly challenging time for us all, but we’re pleased to see normality returning through the easing of restrictions and various businesses and events starting to re-open.

The window for Teacher Assessed Grades or ‘TAG’s’ has now closed and ‘Business as Usual’ is returning. While we appreciate that there may have been some operational changes within your centre, this return to ‘Business as Usual’ means that assessments should now be conducted in line with assessment specifications or assessment strategies for individual qualifications.

It is important that learners are supported when taking their qualifications and that access to assessment is provided wherever it is possible to do so. Some regulatory/governing bodies for specific sectors have updated their existing adaptations which can be utilised in instances where access to learners/assessments are affected by any restrictions. These can be located within your Members Area under the folders for the specific sectors as follows:

However, if you do experience instances where a learner has been affected by the pandemic and you are unable to assess them in a way that complies with the specifications or any ongoing adaptations to assessment that have been set out, please get in touch so that we can discuss this with you.

We have provided some general guidance below to further support your centre:

Multiple-choice examinations

As an innovative alternative to face-to-face delivery and invigilation, please take a look at our Qualify at Home service. This is an exciting new service that allows you to register your learners onto e-learning courses, and examinations through Highfield, that can all take place from the comfort of the learner’s own home.

Please speak to your Account Manager for further details about this service.

Internally assessed qualifications

Internally assessed qualifications are normally achieved through evidence of knowledge and/or performance criteria through varying assessment types. Where the relevant qualification specification and assessment strategy allows a centre to change how they engage with their learners, then this is permitted. Here are some considerations below:

Knowledge assessments

Remote delivery of classroom-based learning through video conference facilities would be permissible where a qualification does not require face-to-face contact. Where a qualification requires a learner to research and provide responses to assessment criteria, this can be completed remotely if the centre plans appropriate levels of support and interaction with the learner.

Centres should keep in mind that all assessment criteria should be covered by the learner and evidenced and authenticated clearly for quality assurance purposes. 

Performance assessments

Where performance evidence is asked for within a qualification specification, please take the time to read full requirements for the assessment and any associated assessment guidance. Where face-to-face observation is not stipulated, a centre could consider remote observation where it is appropriate to do so.

Alternatives to observed performance evidence would be Expert Witness Testimony (EWT). An Expert Witness is a person in an appropriate position and who has sufficient knowledge and competence to confirm that the learner has met the relevant assessment criterion and how it has been met. 

Again, all evidence needs to be evidenced clearly and authenticated for quality assurance purposes.

Authenticating portfolio evidence

In the first instance, a wet signature from the learner along with a statement is normally the best way to authenticate evidence. Where this is not possible due to safety restrictions, then consider the following as ways you could authenticate the evidence, these are listed in order of preference:

  • recorded discussion with the learner that provides an overview of the work they have completed and confirmation the work is their own. Recorded evidence would be in the form of a video conference or telephone call and would clearly introduce the learner.
  • email statements from the learner confirming the work is their own that are used within the portfolio of evidence.

Thank you for taking the time to read this important information. Please ensure that any relevant requirements are circulated within your assessment and internal quality assurance teams. 

Should you have any queries relating to adaptations for internally assessed qualifications, please contact the EQS Team on

Useful links from Ofqual

New Guide for Centres - Awarding of VTQs

VTQ awarding in 2021 - providing clarity for colleges and training providers - The Ofqual blog

The Ofqual VCRF Resource page - The Portal (

How Technical and Vocational Qualifications will be Delivered

The Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework for Centres

The Vocational Contingency Regulatory Framework for Learners

Vocational and technical qualifications contingency regulatory framework, COVID-19 Conditions and Requirements

Vocational and technical qualifications contingency regulatory framework, COVID-19 Guidance

Assessment mitigation centre guidance communication in relation to COVID-19 disruption, 2021 for Health and Social Care and Childcare Early years

Information for centres about making objective judgements

Where Teacher Assessed Grades will play a part in awarding

Student guide to awarding in summer 2021