Last updated: July 20th, 2021

2. The Appeals Process

2. The Appeals Process

Can a student appeal against the grade they have been awarded?

Yes, but before doing anything else, please see the information we have provided about the detailed and robust process we have been through to arrive at these grades. Visit the process and quality assurance page for more information.

What if, having read the details of how grades were assigned, a student still wishes to appeal against the grade they have been awarded? 

Firstly, have a conversation with one of the members of staff who are available on results day to discuss your concerns – details are listed on this page. If you miss the allocated time slots then please email appeals@sjb.surrey.sch.uk and the most appropriate person will respond to you to arrange a conversation.

If a student still wishes to proceed with placing an appeal after first discussing with a member of the Leadership Team or their Head of Year, how does the appeals process work?

The appeals process is set out in two stages, the first is a ‘Centre review’ which considers whether an administrative or procedural error has been made, and the second is an ‘Exam board review’ which will consider whether the academic judgement made about a student’s work was reasonable or not.

It is important to note than any appeal can result in grades going up, down or staying the same.

What is a stage 1 Centre Review?

This stage is managed by us as a school. An official form (available on request via appeals@sjb.surrey.sch.uk), must be submitted to the school. At this stage, an appeal can be made on the grounds that the school has:

  • failed to follow our own procedures properly or consistently in arriving at the result, or;
  • made an administrative error in relation to the result.

We hope that the detailed quality assurance processes we have been through reassures you that we have minimised the opportunities for errors and that we have ensured consistency in our approach at every stage.

What is a stage 2 Exam Board Review?

All stage 2 appeals must first go through the stage 1 appeal process, above. If the stage 1 process has not resolved the concern, an official form is then completed by the student and submitted by the school to the exam board.

A stage 2 appeal is made on the grounds that a student believes the school made an ‘unreasonable exercise of academic judgement in the choice of evidence from which to determine the grade and/or the determination of that grade from the evidence.’

It is important to note that a student will need to set-out in writing the basis for their appeal. Students will have to provide:

  • an explanation of the perceived administrative or procedural error: what it is that the student considers the school has failed to do, why that was a failure to follow our procedures, and why that failure was important to the determination of the grade. Or;
  • an explanation of their concerns about the evidence used to determine their grade, or;
  • an explanation of their concerns about how their grade was determined using the evidence.

It is also important to note that the grade awarded will only be considered unreasonable if it is felt that there is clear evidence that the grade awarded should have been higher or lower. Specifically:

  • the independent reviewer will consider whether the original Teacher Assessed Grade decision was reasonable. The independent reviewer will not consider whether they would have given an alternative grade or whether an alternative grade could also reasonably have been given. The independent reviewer will consider whether the original Teacher Assessed Grade decision was reasonable on its own terms, not if any alternative proposition for the Teacher Assessed Grade or evidence put forward by the student, would be a more appropriate exercise of academic judgement. There may be a difference of opinion as to the assessed grade without there being an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement. The reviewer will only conclude that there has been an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement if the Teacher Assessed Grade was clearly wrong – i.e. there was no basis upon which the grade could properly have been given.” (JCQ guide to appeals).

What is the timeline for appeals?

Priority appeals are for students applying to higher education who did not attain their Firm choice (i.e. the offer they accepted as their first choice) and who wish to appeal an A-level or other level 3 qualification result. Priority appeals must be submitted to the exam board by Monday 16 August.  Students who choose to appeal should contact their preferred university or college straight away to make them aware of the situation. UCAS have extended their deadline for students to meet any conditions of their offer to 7 September to allow more time for appeals.

All non-priority appeals must be logged with the exam board by the 3 September.

The deadlines below are set to allow us the time to prepare for appeals to the exam boards within the published time-frames. Due to the summer holidays, we are limited as to when appeals can be processed by our staff, therefore it is vital that any appeals are registered within the windows detailed below. Appeals registered outside the dates below may not be processed.

Key dates for priority appeals:

Tue 10 to Fri 13 AugustWindow for students to request a priority appeal
Tue 10 to Tue 17 AugustWindow for schools to conduct stage 1 centre reviews for priority appeals
Tue 10 to Fri 20 AugustWindow for schools to submit stage 2 exam board reviews (for priority appeals)

Key dates for non-priority appeals:

From results day to Wed 1 SeptemberWindow for students to request a centre review
From results day to Fri 10 SeptemberWindow for schools to conduct stage 1 centre reviews
From results day to Fri 17 SeptemberWindow for schools to submit stage 2 exam board reviews

Please note that we may not respond to emails regarding non-priority appeals between the 21 August and the 1 September. Any non-priority appeal made in this window will be picked up and processed on Wed 1 September.

Will students be able to sit exams in the Autumn?

If students are disappointed with their grade and would like to improve it, Ofqual has confirmed that exams will take place in the Autumn (in October for A Levels and in November and December for GCSEs).

The exams will be in a standard format and no adaptations will be made (other than reasonable adjustments for students eligible for such adjustments). All subjects will be assessed by exam except art & design which will be assessed by a task set and marked by the exam board.

The exams will assess students in the same way as had been planned for exams in summer 2021, including assessing a reduced number of topics for GCSE English literature and history. If a student gets a higher grade in the autumn exam than in the summer, a request can be made for the exam board to provide a new certificate showing the higher grade.

Please note the following deadlines for registering for an Autumn series exam.

A Level – 7 September  (Exam window 4 – 15 October)

GCSE –  1 October  (Exams window 1 Nov – 2 December)

If students wish to be entered for an exam in the Autumn series then they should email exams@sjb.surrey.sch.uk and our Exams Officer, Mrs Powell, will ensure this happens.