Ofqual has rolled over £300,000 from a contingency pot to fight exam challenges as the return of tests this year “transferred the risk of exceptional legal costs”.
Finance documents submitted to the education select committee show the regulator has moved the cash from its legal costs budget for the current financial year to 2022-23.
The documents state this was to “recognise that the ongoing Covid-19 impact has transferred the risk of exceptional legal costs from 2021 to 2022”.
Last year 37 per cent of all A-level students in England were awarded three As or better – more than double the 17.9 per cent in 2019, the last year exams were held.
Despite calls to “bake in” higher results, grades will be awarded this year based on a “midway” point between pre-pandemic scores and the more generous results handed out under teacher assessment.
It means this year will see a significant deflation in grades, before grades drop again next year to pre-pandemic levels. Ofqual said it planned a contingency fund each year, but this was not needed for results last year.
It added: “It does not mean we are anticipating any specific legal challenges in 2022.”
Any unspent legal money will be returned to the Treasury next year.