Colleges have been urged by their membership organisation to pay exam fees to awarding bodies this summer following the cancellation of GCSE and A-level exams.
A joint letter from the Association of Colleges and Federation of Awarding Bodies states that this action should be taken to “protect all parties” during the coronavirus crisis.
It adds that there is “shared interest in ensuring that both colleges and awarding organisations remain viable” and recommends the payment period to be extended to 90 days, but colleges who are in a position to make payments earlier “should do so”.
The letter sets out a set of “principles” which “will support the contractual relationships between colleges and awarding organisations in these exceptional times”.
The “number one priority” is to “protect the interests of students to have the opportunity to obtain the qualifications and assessments they have worked for”.
“In order to achieve that, we need to protect the provider and awarding organisation post-16 skills ecosystem which supports learners,” it says.
“This includes organisations of all sizes which will face difficulties as a result of the crisis and some of which offer important ‘niche’ qualifications.”
The letter adds that AoC and FAB “understand that there will be both savings and new costs associated with the processes” this year and “agree” that any net savings should be passed on to the providers paying for the qualifications.
“Similarly, we call on regulators and government to recognise that there may also be some net additional costs placed on the awarding sector as a result of implementing an emergency regulatory framework designed to help learners progress,” it continues.
“In all cases, open and independent verification of these calculations would aid transparency and trust.”
The letter concludes: “We hope that these principles will guide the relationships between colleges and awarding organisations and help the sector navigate through the current crisis.
“Achieving that will help to ensure that students are appropriately rewarded for their hard work and offer an approach which allows for a sustainable future for both colleges and awarding organisations.”
You can read the letter in full here.