Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 Explanatory Notes

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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