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ASCL comment on guidance on summer exams and Covid-19


@ASCL_UK comment on guidance on summer exams and Covid-19

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has published updated guidance on the special consideration process to explain the process this summer in the event of a candidate missing part of their exams in light of the situation with Covid-19. The update is in appendix 1.

 Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We welcome the fact that there is now some guidance about what happens if a candidate is unwell with symptoms that may be coronavirus, but we remain concerned that there are no plans to make Covid tests available so that students, schools and colleges know one way or another whether or not a candidate has Covid prior to sitting an exam.

“The guidance merely quotes UK Health Security Agency guidance which says that students with mild symptoms can come in while those with a high temperature are advised to stay at home. The fact that there are no plans to make Covid tests available means that it will be impossible to tell whether or not those symptoms are actually Covid.

“As a result, we may end up with students who have Covid and are infectious in exam halls potentially transmitting the illness to other students and invigilators, and students at home who do not actually have Covid missing exams.

“The obvious solution would be to make free tests available so that those with symptoms can test and so that this isn’t a guessing game. It would then be a great deal easier to advise when a student should remain at home and to apply the special consideration process – which assesses them on basis of the papers they are able to sit – to ensure that they are not disadvantaged.

“We simply cannot understand why the government does not take this obvious and sensible step, especially as it has continually said how important it thinks public exams are.”

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