Grade Appeals Information 2021

Appeals procedure: GCSE Examinations 2021

Please read the information below carefully, if you would like to proceed with an appeal, download and complete the appeals form on this page.

Please be aware the appeals process could result in grades going down, up or staying the same.

There are 2 stages in the appeals process:

Stage 1 – Centre Review

This review looks at in school procedures, specifically:

  • If the school failed to follow its procedures properly or consistently in arriving at a result
  • The school made an administrative error in relation to that result

Requests for appeals on the grounds of academic judgement (unreasonableness) will only be considered by awarding bodies but only after a centre review has been undertaken.

Stage 2 – Appeals to the awarding organisations

The focus of this appeal will be on whether the Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) was unreasonable (and not that another grade or mark would have been reasonable).

The purpose of this independent review is not to review the marking of individual assessments. The reviewer will only conclude if there has been an unreasonable 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.

Making an appeal:

Please download and complete the form below and send it to

JCQ (The Joint Council for Qualifications) released their most up-to-date information on the appeals process on 6th August 2021.  You can find a summary handout for students here:

You can find the full JCQ appeals guide here:

Below are some FAQs and key dates that you may find useful:

GCSEs 2021: The appeals process explained

What if there has been an error made by the school or centre?

Students will be able to appeal to the exam board via their school if there has been an error made in their grade calculation.

The school will then, in its capacity as a centre, appeal to the awarding body that issued the grade to see if there was an administrative error.

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) guidance says: "Although centres will have undertaken robust internal checks and a quality assurance exercise to ensure the grades they submit to awarding organisations are correct, there is always a small possibility that a procedural or administrative error is identified.

"If, after results day, you have identified an error...students in these circumstances will have a right of appeal against the grade change."

How can students appeal their grade?

Students can appeal their grades if they feel their TAG is wrong, but this will be looked at by awarding bodies rather than the school.

The JCQ guidance says: "Requests for appeals on the grounds of academic judgement (unreasonableness) will only be considered by awarding organisations and not by centres.

"In these cases, an initial centre review must still be completed to ensure that the centre has not made any procedural or administrative errors. The centre should not review its academic judgements during the centre review stage."

How does a student make an appeal?

In order to appeal, students will first need to ask for a centre review.

In a centre review the centre will check the following things:

  • Adherence to the centre policy.
  • The sources of evidence used to determine the student’s grade, along with the marks associated with them.
  • Details of any variations in evidence used based on disruption to what that student was taught.
  • Details of any special circumstances that have been considered in determining their grade, such as access arrangements/reasonable adjustments or mitigating circumstances, such as illness.

Before an appeal can be lodged, a centre review must be conducted. If it hasn't been conducted, then the appeal will be rejected.

What date do centre reviews have to be completed by?

There are two key dates for centre reviews:

16 August 2021 for priority A Level appeals where you have students applying to higher education who did not attain their firm choice (ie, the offer they accepted as their first choice).

3 September 2021 for all other cases.

  • The school will consider centre reviews made between results day, Thursday 12th August and Wednesday 18th August by Tuesday 24th August. 
  • Centre review requests received after Wednesday 18th August will be processed when school reopens on Wednesday 1st September.  The last date to submit a centre review request is 17th september.

Why might a student ask for a centre review?

If students feel there has been a miscalculation of their grade due to a procedural failure, such as over the existence and consideration of mitigating circumstances at the time of an assessment or the provision of agreed reasonable adjustments for an assessment.

Other examples are given in the JCQ document.

What happens after a centre review?

Following the review, the centre needs to decide whether this affected the grade submitted to the awarding organisation, and the resulting outcome may be that the grade is raised, stays the same or is lowered, depending on the impact of the error or failure.

What if a student isn't happy with the outcome of the centre review and wants to appeal?

If, after the centre review, a student is still unhappy with their grade, they have the option of appealing to the awarding body via the school.  All requests for an appeal must be made directly to the centre which submitted the grade.

There are three circumstances in which a student can appeal:

  1. The centre did not follow its procedure properly or consistently in arriving at the result, or during the centre review.
  2. The awarding organisation made an administrative error in relation to the result.
  3. The centre 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.

What date do TAG appeals have to be submitted by?

There are two key dates for TAG appeals:

23 August 2021 for priority appeals where students are applying to higher education who did not attain their firm choice (this does not apply to our school).

17 September 2021 for non-priority appeals.

What can students do if they are still unhappy with their grade?

Students will have an opportunity to resit their GCSEs in the autumn exam series in November 2021.

Exams dates are still to be announced and the deadline for entry is likely to be late September to early October.

All subjects will be available for students to resit, and students must sit their exam in the centre where they would have sat their original GCSE.

How much will appeals cost?

This year there will be no charge for appeals.

Could my GCSE, Btec or A level grade go down if I appeal?

Ofqual has confirmed that for this year grades can be moved down as a result of an appeal.

Will any students have to resit their GCSEs?

As in previous years, students who do not obtain grade 4 or above in English language or literature and/or mathematics will have to resit either in the autumn 2021 or summer 2022, or enter for a different qualification.

What advice is there for students who aren’t sure what to do next?

The Department for Education has set up an exam results helpline, which can be reached on 0800 100 900 and more information is available at