Update regarding ESB assessments for ESOL Skills for Life and Speech Qualifications

Update regarding ESB assessments, reopening of centres and Ofqual and DfE consultation

Dear Centres,

I am now in a position to update you on what will be happening with our assessments following my email on the 21st January. We are of course delighted for our learners that centres are reopening in England on Monday 8th March and we can already see that our centres are booking their assessments for the rest of the academic year.

Today, both the Department of Education and Ofqual released a range of general details following the consultation about the impact of Covid and centre closures this academic year. The final new regulatory framework is not yet published as a further stage of consultation is commencing today, however, Awarding Organisations have been given permission to communicate with centres. 

What does it mean for ESB International’s UK based centres and assessments?

Until the end of this term, ESB International’s Speech and ESOL Skills for Life Speaking and Listening assessments will continue to take place remotely. We use the video conferencing facility that centres habitually use and that your learners are used to. 

Centres booking ESOL Skills for Life Reading or Writing assessments will need to manage these assessments within public health guidelines.

We will review offering face to face assessments again and share any updates with you ready for the beginning of the Summer Term.

Alternative arrangements or Teacher Assessed Grades:

The consultation about the impact of Covid and centre closures also dealt with a range of circumstances where centres may not be able to carry out assessments or had to cancel assessments and whether a form of teacher assessed grades (TAGs) could be used for learners affected by these circumstances. Teacher Assessed Grades will not occur under the same circumstances as the previous Centre Assessed Grades.

In relation to ESB centres and assessments, because we are an on demand model, occasions whereby Teacher Assessed Grades may need to be used will be minimal, as centres in most circumstances can rebook assessments which they may have had to cancel or delay.  This position is in line with the outcomes of the initial consultation.

We envisage few circumstances where ESB centres may need to use Teacher Assessed Grades:

  • Where cancelled assessments cannot be rebooked as learners have finished their course 
  • Where assessments cannot take place on public health grounds or remotely

(Teacher assessed grades will not apply to our Graded Examinations in Speech).

However, as the new regulatory framework that manages Teacher Assessed Grades has not yet been finalised or published, we do not have all the detail ready to share with you at this point. We envisage the release of that detail in late March. If you feel your circumstances may require the use of Teacher Assessed Grades as outlined above, please contact the Product Development team at product@esbuk.org to discuss things further.

So please do book your ESB assessments with confidence and as previously shared with you, detailed information about how we are adapting qualifications, and what centres and learners need to do to prepare for remote assessments are set out in the guidance documents below:-

If you have any questions about these guidance documents or delivering adapted assessments, again please contact the Product Development team at product@esbuk.org.

I greatly look forward to hearing the stories of your learners’ successes and I know the ESB team will be on hand to answer questions and support you with your assessments.

Thank you for your ongoing loyalty to ESB, we value it greatly.



Tina Renshaw
Chief Executive
English Speaking Board (International) Ltd.

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