Technical qualifications

Updated 12 June

Technical Qualifications –

NEW – Updated support & resources for Technical Qualifications – Summer 2020 grades

Please be advised, these support resources and guidance documents are applicable to City & Guilds Technical Qualifications only. 

We have been working on some further support materials to assist you in your activities to assign centre estimated assessment grades and rank ordering of candidates.

These include a comprehensive set of FAQs, directly based on the feedback and questions we have received from you so far. See the FAQ accordion below.

Submit Centre Assessment Grades / Declaration

We have also written a letter to learners, parents and carers, to explain how City & Guilds and our centres are working together to ensure that all learners expecting to receive a result this summer are treated as fairly as possible, to allow them to progress to the next stage of their education or career. Centres are free to send this directly to learners, or they can signpost the learners to it on our website.

To support the suggested ‘6-step process’ in assigning centre estimated assessment grades and rank ordering of candidates, we have produced a slide deck presentation to help guide you through the process. This has an audio voiceover, to add further explanation and detail. This can be found in the accordion below.

UPDATED 15/05 – Background information and updates

Update from City & Guilds regarding the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak and our Technical Qualifications

As City & Guilds has previously announced, the summer 2020 assessment series has been cancelled in order to help fight the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). In these unprecedented and difficult times, we as an Awarding Organisation have a responsibility to support our centres in ensuring that:

  • the maximum number of candidates possible receive the results that they would have most likely have achieved had they been able to take their assessments in summer 2020; and
  • these candidates are protected, as far as is possible, from being systematically advantaged or disadvantaged by the current situation.

The overarching aim for this summer is that we must collectively work together and do what we can to ensure that all candidates are treated as fairly as possible and are able to complete and progress onto the next stage of their career or education. We appreciate that these times that we find ourselves in are concerning and frustrating and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience as we work through the details of the processes and requirements to ensure that you are supported in making the right judgement for your candidates.

Please find attached Information for Heads of Centre, heads of department and tutors on the determination of Centre assessment grades. This document is the first in a series of communications and guidance materials that we will provide to you over the coming weeks and months, to support you in the process of determining centre assessment grades for, and rank ordering of, your candidates for the City & Guilds Technical Qualifications.

You can also find a six step process guide on the submission process.

Further communications that will be forthcoming include:

  • Administrative details for the submission of centre assessment grades and rank order
  • Important news alerts, FAQs and updates to the website

UPDATED 22/05 – Guidance and support resources

UPDATED 15/05 – Extended project Qualification

Please find our guidance document here that provides details to support you in the process of determining centre assessment grades for - and rank ordering of - your candidates for the City & Guilds Extended Project Qualification. There is also a separate timeline for this qualification.


UPDATED 12/06 – General

Does the Centre Assessment Grade count as an attempt (sitting) for either the exam or the synoptic assignment?

No, it does not. The submission of any Centre Assessment Grades for Technicals does not count as an assessment attempt.

What is the Quality Assurance process for centre assessment grades, what will we be expected to provide in terms of additional evidence, including the window of submission and how do we submit the evidence?

Quality assurance will be undertaken for all centre assessment grades submitted. This will involve checking comparative data, reviewing declarations and undertaking risk analysis to establish what, if any, additional information may be required to confirm the validity and reliability of centre assessment grades. Final results will only be released where our quality assurance requirements have been met.

We may contact centres to ask for clarification, or in some exceptional instances to provide additional supporting evidence to support your estimated results. In these instances, when we contact centres will depend upon when grades are submitted within the assessment window (1- 26 June). We will be undertaking our quality assurance activities in July, so will not request anything later than 31 July.

Please be assured that in the situation that we do contact centres, we will work closely with you to resolve any concerns in order to ensure that candidates receive the results they deserve, and that these are released on time to support their future progression.

Will you be providing a statement to learners on the grade calculation estimation process and how they will be able to achieve their qualification?

Yes, we will produce a statement that can be provided by centres to learners and parents and carers which explains how we will ensure they have the opportunity to complete their qualification through grade calculation.

We will publish this on the City & Guilds COVID-19 webpages under Technical Qualifications, before 14 May. We will send it to centres, who may wish to send it onto their learners.

Does the 60/40 weighting between the synoptic assignment and the theory exam need to be taken into consideration when completing the ranking process?

There is no requirement to consider any form of weighting between the estimated synoptic grade and the estimated exam grade.

Some candidates completed all of their assessments before 20 March, but others have only partially completed. Can I use the marks/grades for the assessments they have completed?

Evidence of any assessment completed to date is probably one of the best indicators of performance, and therefore you can use this to inform your centre estimated grades. If assessments have not been completed in full, you can use any work that has been carried out towards them as outlined in the guidance document. If there is limited evidence for assessments that have not been carried out, then you will need to use your professional judgement based upon the candidate’s performance across the qualification delivery up to 20 March. That could be taking into consideration the candidate’s aptitude, dexterity, attendance, approach to work and safety awareness.

Will you be providing forms for the grading and ranking process?

We will not be supplying forms for you to use. The submission will be via a portal in Walled Garden.

How do we approach the ranking process for candidate's estimated grades, and who should be involved?

How centres approach the task of estimating grades and rank ordering will depend on a number of factors. Centres must ensure there is a rigorous and robust internal sign-off process that ensures validity of the grade estimations that are being submitted to City & Guilds. Each set of centre estimated grades for each assessment component must be agreed and signed off by all tutors/staff that have been involved in teaching and/or assessing candidates for the assessments, one of whom should be the head of department. The Head of Centre will be required to confirm that the centre estimated grades, and the rank order of candidates are a true representation of candidates and that a comparison with previous cohorts has been considered as part of the process. If there is a significant variation from previous cohorts, the Head of Centre will need to provide a justification.

Do we rank the candidates twice; one for exam performance and one for synoptic performance, and do we need an overall ranking?

All candidates need to be graded and rank ordered within the assessment component (i.e. within the synoptic assignment and the theory exam separately). You will not need to rank order at qualification level. City & Guilds will provide an overall calculated result based upon the grades that you submit, subject to quality assurance.

Are the estimated grades for a year 2 (on a 720/1080 GLH) candidate grade based on year 1 achievement or just on their year 2 achievement?

To provide the estimated grades for any learner completing the second year of a two-year programme, you should base your professional judgement on performance across both years. When City & Guilds calculates the overall qualification grade this will be based upon the ‘actual’ results achieved in year one and the estimated grades you provide in year two, subject to the quality assurance process.

For a candidate on a two-year qualification, do I still need to provide estimated grades for the assessment components for the first year of the qualification?

Yes, if the learner was due to complete their first-year assessments in summer 2020 then you need to provide us with their estimated grades. Delaying assessment until the second year of the programme of study may disadvantage the learner and will increase both learner and centre workload next year.

Will we need to submit grades and rank ordering by sub-centre, or across the centre as a whole?

Centres should prepare to provide estimated grades on a centre and assessment level basis. The system we are using is being built in Walled Garden and will display candidates based upon which centre they have been registered on (i.e. under what centre number).

If all candidates were registered under the same number, you would treat this as one cohort. If they have been registered under multiple centre numbers (e.g. 012345, 012345A etc) then you should treat these as separate cohorts.

If a centre operates across a number of different sites, but candidates were registered under a single centre number, they must be treated as one cohort when it comes to rank ordering.

What do we do if there is little or no evidence and we are uncomfortable with providing a centre estimated grade?

In the first instance, contact the Technicals Quality team, who will then refer the query to an appropriate colleague, and we will contact you to discuss the appropriate course of action.

What do we do about Employer Involvement?

For KS5, Technical Certificates and Tech Levels, the mandatory Employer Involvement component requirement will be relaxed and will therefore show as achieved on our systems - centres do not need to provide an estimate for this component.

The Moderation Portal is closed, how can I upload evidence?

There will be no moderation of evidence this year, hence why the Moderation Portal is closed. Any evidence that has been uploaded already will not be used, and centre estimated assessment grades should be submitted for all assessment components instead.

UPDATED 28/05 – Extended Project Qualification

The grades for the extended project qualification are A* - E for the assessment and not P/M/D/X. What should we enter when submitting the grades to City & Guilds?

The system in Walled Garden has been designed to allow centres to submit A* to E grades for the extended project qualification.

Do centres work off last years published boundaries in order to determine the estimated grade. The qual page is a bit of a mess however been able to determine that the grade boundaries have not changed between 2017-2019?

Yes, centres should use last year’s grade boundaries available for the extended project qualification to determine the estimated grade for this year.

Marks achieved following internal moderation can be converted to an estimated grade using these grade boundaries.

You will then need to submit these estimated grades in June via Walled Garden.

The guidance suggests centres expected to provide estimated grades and rank order, but not expected to put candidates into grade intervals. Is that correct?

For the extended project qualification centres only need to provide an estimated grade and then a rank order their candidates.

What date will the results be published for the EPQ?

Thursday 13 August 2020.

Do we need to submit any evidence to City & Guilds for the L3 Extended Project Qualification?

No, not at this stage. Centres only need to provide the estimated grades for candidates to us in June via Walled Garden.

UPDATED 15/05 – Synoptic assignments

What should we do if we have candidates who have not been able to complete a number of practical elements of their qualification and there is limited evidence to base an estimation on?

Where there is limited evidence available for a particular unit or assessment (e.g. practical assessment) you will need to make a professional judgment about this candidate. This may be from other units, practice sessions, mock assessments and overall practical performance in other areas.

What do we do if learners have completed their synoptic assignments, but the Moderation Portal closed before they could be marked and submitted?

Centres will need to submit centre assessment grades for all assessments (synoptic, theory exam and centre assessed components), regardless of whether marks and/or evidence had previously been submitted to the Moderation Portal or not. We will not be carrying out any moderation activity in the current academic year.

You should however use the evidence and the marks provided to estimate the grade which you submit to City & Guilds in June. You can then refer to this evidence should City & Guilds request it as part of our quality assurance activities.

What do we do if our candidates have completed their synoptic assignments, and we have marked them and uploaded them to the Moderation Portal?

We will not be moderating assignments. You should use the completed assignment as evidence when estimating grades. You must submit an estimated grade and rank order for all your candidates in the cohort, not via the Moderation Portal. Details around the submission process will be released later.

Do we only provide centre estimated grades and rank ordering for those learners who did not complete their synoptic assessment?

You will need to provide centre estimated grades and rank ordering for all candidates regardless of whether they completed or only partially completed their synoptic assignments, based upon the evidence that you have, and by using your professional judgement.

Can you moderate and provide actual grades for those candidates where they have completed the synoptic assignment, and where we have marked and uploaded them to the Moderation Portal?

Unfortunately, we are not able to moderate synoptic assignments, or any other centre assessed components that were completed and marked, as there isn’t sufficient evidence across centres to standardise marking to a national standard. Marks and evidence uploaded to the Moderation Portal will not be moderated. You will need to provide a grade estimation for all assessment components (synoptic, exam, mandatory units and optional units) through our new area of Walled Garden that will be released in early June. You will be required to provide estimated grades, their respective grade interval and rank order all candidates regardless of whether their synoptic was completed or not.

Obviously you will be able to use any completed synoptics and their marks in order to inform your estimated grade.

How do we evidence the assessor’s professional judgement if there has been no practical synoptic assessment and no formal formative practical assessment?

Evidence used to estimate grades does not need to be formal; any observations or records of performance of practical duties can be taken into consideration.

Suggested sources of evidence may include:

  • records of attendance and/or feedback from supervisors when performing any practical duties/routines
  • performance in practical tasks practiced during teaching/learning
  • evidence (observed or recorded) from other units where practical activities have taken place can be considered
  • feedback from work experience if applicable

Professional judgement is the best indicator in the absence of evidence, for example:

  • aptitude of learner
  • attendance
  • approach to hands on work
  • safety awareness

This is about making a holistic professional judgement and you know your learners best. Ofqual also state “We realise that teachers will not know precisely how each learner might have performed on assessments and examinations that had not been encountered. However, they will have a good understanding of how learners with similar achievements have performed in the past on the same or similar assessments”.

What do we do where we have a small number of candidates who have come to college this year just to re-sit the synoptic elements of the assessment?

Should I include them in the rankings with the other learners or keep them separate?

You should include all candidates in your grade estimations and rank ordering that were due to complete the assessment in summer 2020.

We have candidates who completed their synoptic assignments. Do I need to complete the PO forms and type up my notes that I made?

No, we will not require any work to be submitted to the Moderation Portal. You will need to provide centre estimated grades and rank ordering for all candidates who were due to complete their synoptic assignment. However, you may wish to tidy up any notes to use as evidence to support the estimation.

Should last year’s synoptic assessment grade boundaries be used to estimate this year’s grade based upon work that I have already marked?

Your centre estimated grades need to be based upon the evidence that you have (see sources of evidence in the guidance document) and also on your professional judgement about candidate performance. Grade boundaries could be used alongside evidence to help inform a decision, but please note that grade boundaries are subject to slight change year to year, and therefore you should use the boundaries from previous years and not just last year.

We have Year 10 students who were due to complete their synoptic assignment this year but weren’t able to due to centre closures. They aren’t due to complete the qualification until next summer and would have had two attempts at the synoptic assessment but will only have one (next year) due to the situation. What would you advise?

We would advise they submit estimated grades for the synoptic assignment for candidates in Y10 and Y11. The estimation will not count as an attempt, and so will not affect re-sit opportunities.

UPDATED 15/05 – Exams

Can we still book June exams as they are showing on Walled Garden?

Please do not book any exams for the June series.

Do we need to cancel bookings that have already been made for the June exams?

At the moment centres don't need to take any further action. Our teams will cancel any unrequired bookings later in the year once we have completed our quality assurance checks.

Do we need to make the bookings on Walled Garden for those candidates that would normally have been undertaking a re-sit on the summer theory exam?

No, you do not need to make any bookings for any assessment components for the remainder of the academic year. As the summer exams have been cancelled, you will need to provide centre estimated grades and rank ordering for your candidates. This information is within a guidance document on our Covid-19 webpages, under Technicals. We will be providing further information on the submission process in due course.

For candidates that have already received their results for the spring exam, do we need to submit estimate grades for the summer exam?

You only need to provide estimated grades for the exam if the learner was intending to sit the summer exam either as a first attempt or a resit (where they failed the spring exam or wanted to improve their grade).

If a candidate has achieved a Pass or above in the spring exam, and there was no intention for them to retake and improve their result in the summer, then you will not be required to provide an estimated grade or include in the rank ordering.

We are delivering a KS4 Technical Award over 2 years 2019-2021. Candidates were booked onto the theory exam in June 2020 - can these entries be moved to the spring and/or summer series 2021 rather than giving estimated exam grades for summer 2020?

Yes, this is possible if you feel that it is in the best interests of the candidates and will not put them under any undue pressure.

Do we need to let you know which of the candidates that would have be sitting the June exam are re-sits?

No. Just enter the estimated grades on the system when it becomes available (the detailed submission process to following in due course).

UPDATED 28/05 – Optional units

What do we do if we have not started delivering an optional unit that is very practical in nature? Should we swap the unit out for a non-practical unit in order to make a more secure judgement?

You will need to use your professional judgement based upon what you know about the candidate, and how they have performed in other similar units, and take into account that evidence, but also consider their aptitude, dexterity, approach to hands-on work, safety awareness and so on. You should also consider the performance of similar candidates in previous cohorts.

What do we do if we have not started delivering an optional unit, and we are concerned that by assigning a centre estimated grade that we could be putting the candidate or others at risk if we pass them?

You need to consider the content of the optional unit and use your professional judgement to compare the content to other similar units that you may already have evidence for. Your judgement should be holistic when considering skills and knowledge. However, if you do not believe that you have that holistic view or cannot make a judgement based on all of the evidence available then you may wish to defer that unit submission until you have the opportunity for the candidate can complete the necessary assessment evidence. This will impact the summer result and could delay the overall qualification achievement.

UPDATED 09/06 – Other mandatory centre assessed components

We have learners registered on a 1080 land-based Technical Qualification who are completing their first year. As part of this qualification, the work experience unit was due to be completed between May to September this year. We normally submit the work experience component at the end of the second year, and so have not made a booking yet as we do this alongside year 2 units. Due to COVID-19 situation, what do we do?

Any learner that was due to complete their work experience unit in this academic year (before September) will have the requirement relaxed. We will process ‘Pass’ grades in our system for all bookings made for this year.

However, without a booking we are not able to apply this process. Therefore we need you to contact the Technicals Quality team to apply for an exemption. You will need to complete a manual booking exemption form available here (CAG-ER2) for all learners.

Alternatively, if you were not planning for the 1080 learners to carry out work experience in this academic year, they can do it next year and submit the grade as normal in June 2021.

For the Land Technicals, where there is a mandatory Health and Safety test, and the candidates have sat and passed this test remotely, after 20 March, are these results valid?

For the Health and Safety test, we cannot accept the results of the assessments taken at home, as you cannot guarantee invigilation has taken place correctly. We will, however, accept centre assessment grades based upon your professional judgement about candidate’s previous performance or other evidence.

For Land Level 3, some of candidates have not completed all of the 150 hours of work experience. What should we do?

For work experience units, where there is a booking, we will relax the requirement for centres. There will be no requirement for the centre to have to submit an assessment grade.

Please visit the City & Guilds Covid-19 area of the website (in particular that section relating to Technicals) and also the Technicals Resources and Support pages (under updates).

We understand that you will have questions and queries, and our Technicals Quality team are on hand and happy to support you:

Technicals Quality team


T: 0300 303 53 52 (option 2, option 3)