t: 020 7219 8155 e: fieldm@parliament.uk


November 19, 2009

If you think that the result you have received in a GCSE, A-level or (G)NVQ examination is wrong you can make a complaint.

Who can you complain to?

Stage one

Complain to your examining centre (school or college). They will initiate a results enquiry, which will usually result in a re-mark or remoderation. If you are a private candidate, complain directly to the awarding body that set your exam.

Stage two

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome you must lodge an appeal with the awarding body within two weeks of receiving the outcome of your enquiry. You may also be able to obtain a copy of your exam script from the awarding body. This can also be undertaken through your school or college unless you are a private candidate.

Keep in mind that there is normally a deadline for applications for appeals.

Stage three

If you are still dissatisfied you can appeal to the independent examinations appeals board (EAB): The Examinations Appeals Board, Ofqual, Spring Place, Coventry Business Park, Herald Avenue, Coventry CV5 6UB

Telephone 024 766 71848 Again, keep in mind that there is normally a deadline for formal application to appeal to the EAB.

What grounds do you have to complain?

There are now five main awarding bodies in the UK, offering qualifications in GCSEs, GCEs, AS and A-levels; GNVQs, BTEC first, national, and higher national certificates and diplomas; NVQs; key skills and entry qualifications and specific programmes for employers. Each body has its own internal complaints procedure.

The EAB exists to ensure there is a fully independent avenue of appeal to review the correct application of procedures governing the setting, marking and grading of qualifications. It helps to give confidence to candidates, parents, schools and colleges who make use of the examinations system that the grades awarded are fair and accurate.

The EAB investigates A, AS and GCSE examinations, entry-level qualifications and the revised model GNVQ:

  • the EAB can hear appeals against grades only when the entire enquiry and appeals process of the awarding body is complete
  • appeals to the EAB must be made by examination centres, ie headteachers of schools and principals of colleges, and not by individual candidates except privately entered candidates who may apply directly to the board.
  • centres considering an appeal may discuss the issues informally with the EAB’s appeals manager prior to making a formal application
  • to make formal application to appeal the applicant should send a completed application form, specifying clearly the grounds for the appeal
  • within two weeks of receipt, the chairman will decide whether the appeal application falls within the EAB’s terms of reference and advise the applicant accordingly

Will you get a fair hearing?

Each awarding body appeals panel will include at least one independent member. A sample of hearings will be monitored by the qualifications and curriculum authority (QCA).

The EAB is an independent body set up by the government. Each appeal will be heard by a panel of three, selected from the board members and the pool of panellists. All panellists selected will be independent of the awarding body concerned and the appellant. The panel will be chaired by a board member.

What will happen if you’re successful?

The EAB is not authorised to re-mark candidates’ work nor can it change grades issued by an awarding body. It has powers to direct an awarding body to reconsider a case and may offer recommendations.

If the board is dissatisfied with an awarding body’s response to its direction for a reconsideration of a case, it will report the matter to the appropriate regulatory authorities, setting out the reasons for the referral. These authorities are the QCA, ACCAC and the CCEA.

The parties concerned will be notified of the outcome of a hearing within two working days of the event. The EAB will publish its conclusions and underlying reasoning within 15 working days of the hearing. Copies of the decision letter will be sent to the appellant and to the relevant awarding body, regulatory authorities and education department.

Anything else you can do?

You cannot appeal the chair’s decision to refuse an application for an appeal hearing. If you are unhappy with the way the EAB has handled your case that matter can be referred to the parliamentary ombudsman.