Indicative Exam Service

From Stylus Education and La Salle Education

Empower, support and protect your teachers with externally marked bespoke papers providing the evidence needed to inform and justify their 2021 grade assessments.

The Indicative Exam Service from La Salle Education and Stylus Education will help your Multi-Academy Trust, school group or institution reach a set of Centre Assessed Grades that teachers agree with, that reflect the curriculum you’ve managed to cover, and that will stand up to scrutiny.


We provide high-quality, secure exam papers, designed for your context and overseen by former-QCDA members and chief examiners. As papers are unique to each institution, and delivered securely, you can choose the date for pupils to sit each exam without the concern of the paper being shared online.


We mark the papers, and our external moderation reduces the likelihood of grades being challenged — providing additional protection for your teachers, whilst allowing students to progress smoothly to the next stage of their education. What’s more, your departments get actionable insights on pupil progress whilst retaining their vital gained time.


Papers will be taken during an assessment window in May, and full paper analysis and broader evidence will be provided in time for submitting your grades.

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  • Marked by our experienced examiners

  • High quality bespoke exam papers in mathematics, science and English 

  • Overseen by former QCDA members and Chief Examiners

  • Delivered directly to your examination officer in security packaging

  • Truly actionable analytics including indicative GCSE grades

  • Easiest way to bring consistency across a group of schools

  • Choose your awarding body style (AQA, Edexcel or OCR)

  • Incentivise Year 11 to work at their best by providing the opportunity to out-perform predictions in externally set exams

Frequently asked questions

What subjects are included?

We provide secure papers in Maths, English and Science.

What awarding bodies / specifications are covered?

We will supply papers aligned with AQA, Edexcel or OCR at your request.

Do all subjects have to follow the same awarding body model?

No. It’s perfectly ok to ask us for, say, mathematics papers in an AQA style, English papers as OCR would provide and science papers in the format of Edexcel. Just let us know what fits with your subject leaders’ specification choices.

What topics will the papers cover?

Papers are bespoke to your school so you can decide which topics are included based on the covered curriculum.

When can the papers be taken?

Papers will be taken during an assessment window in May, and full paper analysis and broader evidence will be provided in time for submitting your grades.

Can we use the secure papers as evidence towards Centre Assessed Grades?

Yes. Not only will the paper analysis provide detailed feedback on pupil trends, but you’ll also be provided with indicative grades. These can then be considered alongside other ongoing teacher assessment (quizzes, assignments, previous mock data, etc), to give a strongly evidenced based CAG for all pupils.

Can we use the secure papers as mock exams?

Yes. It is entirely for schools to determine what use the papers best serve. You might, for example, wish to have one exam window in the year to act as a mock and another window to act as predicted grade evidence.

Who marks the papers?

We recruit qualified teachers to act as markers, just as the exam boards would in normal years. Papers are overseen by former QCDA members and chief examiners, and we follow a moderation process much like an exam board would.

When will we get the results back?

When the pupils have completed their papers, simply post them to us and we’ll do the rest. You will receive detailed paper analysis within three weeks.

How much does it cost?

This will vary from school to school depending on cohort size and the number of subjects entered. However, we cost significantly less than exam entries in normal years.

Why don't we just use the exam board questions?

The exam board papers probably won’t be secure, and may not be tailored to your students’ curriculum coverage. Ours are bespoke, and will be sent direct to your Exams Officer in sealed packaging - the next best thing to a national exam series for this year.

Aren’t we going to be at a disadvantage if we don’t use exam board papers because it’ll be exam boards marking them?

Ofqual's consultation document makes it clear that exam boards are primarily there to check schools are following a process, including sampling marking to check it’s fair and accurate - not to dictate the specific papers used. The evidence presented by schools should form a body of work representative of all the knowledge, skills and understanding a student has demonstrated, so exam boards are prepared to look at different types of marking or assessment, including classwork and quizzes.

Why not just have our teachers create their own papers?

Any type of assessment created in school, for and by the people using it, is less valid than a secure external equivalent. If teachers know what is on the papers, there will be pressure to ‘teach to the test’ - and pressure from parents and students to give extra hints or help so students can perform better. Using an external assessment relieves teachers of the pressure to create an appropriate paper, and protects them from accusations of unfairness, bias or teaching to the test.

Why not get our teachers to mark the papers?

The proposed timelines in the Ofqual consultation document are extremely tight, and present a huge burden to already overstretched teachers. It would be enormously challenging to mark and properly moderate a full set of exam papers alongside normal teaching duties within the short window suggested. By using external markers, teachers are free to get on with teaching and protected from the huge pressure of exam marking.

What if the exam boards don’t let us carry the financial credit into next year?

In either case there will be a cost associated with teachers marking the papers - using us is an investment in workload, wellbeing and the security of the exam papers themselves.

What if we disagree with the marking?

Our markers are qualified teachers, and we follow a rigorous moderation process overseen by former QCDA members and chief examiners, to ensure our marking is as fair as possible. However, the final decision on grades lies with you as a school - our papers are here to guide and inform, but not to dicatate.

How will the papers be graded?

We are not an exam board, so we are not here to tell you directly what grade your students should be awarded - no one can do that outside of a public examination. We are here to tell you how they performed against the Assessment Objectives, how well they performed against other students taking the same or similar exams, and indicate to you how this might translate into a grade. You and your staff have the final say. For Maths and Science we can tell you precise marks against each question. For English we will use your board’s assessment objectives alongside a comparative judgement approach, which will be enabled by the volume of schools we are working with.

What about A Level?

This isn’t a service we offer to individual schools because of the need for far more specialised markers and exam papers, which has a much bigger impact on cost, but we are happy to speak to groups of schools if they are willing to combine numbers.

Will we have the opportunity to team up with other schools?

A larger sample size will lead to fairer outcomes for all involved, so we are keen to build consortia between local schools or schools following a similar curriculum. Working together in this way means the validity of your evidence will be stronger when presented to the exam board.