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Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009

Review etc. of regulated assessment arrangements
Section 161: Review of regulated assessment arrangements

470.This section requires Ofqual to keep all aspects of these NC and EYFS assessments arrangements under review. This constitutes the principal regulatory role of Ofqual in relation to the regulated assessment arrangements (as defined in section 131).

471.Ofqual’s powers of review will enable it to consider all aspects of the implementation of the regulated assessment arrangements, such as looking at the way in which specified bodies exercise monitoring and review functions, including functions concerned with investigating complaints about the way in which tests and other assessments have been conducted.

Section 162: Powers to require information

472.To enable Ofqual to carry out its review role effectively, this section grants it powers to require certain persons to provide it with the information it considers it needs to perform this role. Those persons are the Secretary of State, NC responsible bodies and EYFS responsible bodies (as defined in the section) and Ofsted. Subsection (2)(d) includes a power for the Secretary of State to specify in regulations (subject to the negative procedure) other persons who are to be subject to this requirement. This power is required to allow for flexibility for further organisations to be added in case, for example, assessment arrangements change in the future and different bodies become involved in the process.

Section 163: Duty to notify significant failings

473.One of the recommendations in Lord Sutherland’s inquiry report was that Ofqual should have a duty to inform the Secretary of State and the QCA if it had concerns about the delivery and quality of NC tests. Reflecting this recommendation, these provisions impose a duty on Ofqual covering both NC and EYFS assessment arrangements. Ofqual must notify the Secretary of State and any responsible body whose act or omission appears to Ofqual to have contributed to a significant failing if it considers that there is or is likely to be a significant failing in the assessment arrangements. Such a failure is defined as a failure in a significant way to achieve one or more of the specified purposes of the assessment arrangements.

474.Examples of circumstances in which Ofqual should notify the Secretary of State might include the following:

  • if it became evident to Ofqual that there was a significant risk that significant numbers of test results would be delayed, and that the results would not therefore provide pupils, schools or the Government with timely information about the attainment and progress of pupils, assuming that the provision of this information was one of the specified purposes of the assessment; or

  • if a new type of NC test was being developed which Ofqual judged would not provide a reliable assessment of a pupil’s level of attainment.

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