Appeals Process for 2021 Exams Only

  • Students’ right to appeal – If a student (including private candidates) feels the grade they’ve received is wrong, there’s an appeals process unique to this summer series, for them to follow.

  • Grounds of appeal – Ofqual has produced a Student guide to awarding summer 2021 to help explain the process. It might be helpful to share this with your students now so they understand the process ahead of results day. To summarise:


    • Stage one – Centre review

      • If a student feels their grade is wrong, they should speak to their school or college first to check if there was a mistake in determining or submitting the grade.

      • If there was a mistake, schools and colleges can submit a revised grade to the exam board to consider.


    • Stage two – Exam board review

      • If schools and colleges don’t find a mistake but the student still believes that their grade is wrong, they can ask their school or college to submit a formal appeal to the exam board for them. Students can appeal if they believe any of the following applies:

        • there was an error in the way the school or college followed or applied its procedure for determining their grade

        • the school or college did not make a reasonable judgement when deciding which evidence to use to determine their grade

        • the school or college did not make a reasonable judgement about their grade based on the evidence gathered.

      • If an appeal is submitted to an exam board, schools and colleges will need to supply the complete evidence in support of the student’s grade.


  • Deadlines – appeals must be submitted to exams boards by 23 August 2021 for priority appeals (for students applying to higher education who did not get their first choice, and wish to appeal an A-level or other Level 3 qualification result), or by 17 September 2021 for non-priority appeals.

  • Correcting results – Students should be aware that their grade could go up, down, or stay the same.

Vocational, Technical and other qualifications

The appeals approach for Vocational, Technical and other qualifications (VTQs) will align with the approach for GCSEs AS and A-levels, but there’s one exception. For our Tech-levels and our Award and Certificate in Personal and Social Education qualifications, students will be able to appeal at unit level. For all other qualifications this will be in line with the approach for GCSEs AS and A-levels, at subject level only.

JCQ guide to appeals for summer 2021 

We know that the timings to deliver the Centre reviews are tight, and for many schools and colleges this will be challenging when school staff are taking a well-earned break. The guidance from JCQ has some helpful information for schools and colleges on what to share with students ahead of results days to help minimise the need for appeals, or if an appeal is still needed that the student has all they need to get started. This includes making sure students understand the evidence on which their grade is based, and that this evidence represents their ability in the subject. Following this guidance will help your school or college to reduce the time that you and your colleagues spend on any reviews and appeals following results days.

Ofqual has confirmed that exam boards won’t penalise schools and colleges who can’t submit information related to a student’s appeal if it’s held by staff who can’t be reached because of the summer holidays.

JCQ Student Appeals Guide
JCQ Enquiries About Results & Appeals

Autumn series

If students are disappointed with their grade and would like to improve it, Ofqual has confirmed that autumn exams can take place in 2021. You can find out what’s available and when on our Autumn exam series webpage.