Public Examinations

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1 Purpose

  1. The purpose of this exam policy is:
    1. to ensure the planning and management of exams is conducted efficiently and in the best interest of candidates
    2. to ensure the operation of an efficient exam system with clear guidelines for all relevant staff.
  2. It is the responsibility of everyone involved in the centre’s exam processes to read, understand and implement this policy.

2 Exam responsibilities

2.1 Headteacher

  1. overall responsibility for the School as an exam centre:
  2. the Headteacher is responsible for reporting all suspicions or actual incidents of malpractice as outlined in the JCQ document Suspected malpractice in examinations and assessments.

2.2 Exams Office Staff

  1. exams Office Staff consists of Exams Officer responsible for the overall administration of the exams process and an Assistant Exams Officer responsible for the day-to-day running of the exams process.
  2. manages the administration of public and internal exams and advises students and staff on re-marks and appeals.
  3. advises the Leadership Team, subject and class tutors and other relevant support staff on annual exam timetables and application procedures as set by the various exam boards
  4. produces and distributes to staff, parents and candidates calendars for all exams in which candidates will be involved and communicates to staff deadlines and events (including controlled assessments)
  5. consults with teaching staff to ensure that necessary coursework is completed to School deadlines and in accordance with JCQ guidelines
  6. obtains data on estimated entries and forwards them to examining boards
  7. receives, checks and stores securely all exam papers and completed scripts
  8. administers access arrangements and makes applications for special consideration using the JCQ Access arrangements and special considerations regulations and Guidance relating to candidates who are eligible for adjustments in examinations
  9. identifies and manages exam timetable clashes
  10. accounts for income and expenditures relating to all exam costs/charges
  11. recruit, manages, trains and monitors a team of exams invigilators
  12. submits candidates’ estimated grades and coursework marks, tracks despatch and passes returned coursework to Subject Leaders and any other material required by the appropriate awarding bodies
  13. arranges for dissemination of exam results and certificates to candidates
  14. maintains systems and processes to support the timely entry of candidates for their exams
  15. publishes seating plans prior to each exam session
  16. advises students and parents with regard to re-marks
  17. Candidate Identification Procedure policy to be available in all exam venues and followed by Invigilators.

2.3 Subject Leaders are responsible for

  1. accurate completion of coursework mark sheets and declaration sheets
  2. accurate completion of entry and all other mark sheets and adherence to deadlines as set by the Exams Officer
  3. keeping Exam Office staff fully appraised of any proposed changes (i.e. change of exam board)

2.4 SENCO/SEN Administrator is responsible for

  1. identification and testing of candidates’ requirements for access arrangements
  2. provision of additional support — with spelling, reading, mathematics, dyslexia or essential skills, hearing impairment, English for speakers of other languages, IT equipment — to help candidates achieve their course aims
  3. keeping Exams Office staff fully up to date with any information relevant to access arrangements for exams

2.5 Invigilators are responsible for

  1. collection of exam papers and other material from the exams office before the start of the exam
  2. conduct of Examinations including Candidate Identification Procedure
  3. conduct of Examinations
  4. collection of all exam papers in the correct order at the end of the exam and their return to the exams office

2.6 Candidates are responsible for

  1. confirmation and signing of entries
  2. understanding of coursework regulations and signing a declaration that authenticates the coursework as their own
  3. punctual attendance
  4. informing Exams Office Staff of any illness (or circumstances that may merit special consideration) during the exam period
  5. compliance with relevant rules and regulations

3 Statutory Tests and Qualifications Offered

  1. The statutory tests and qualifications offered at this centre are decided by the Headteacher, Subject Leaders and the Leadership Team.
  2. The statutory tests and qualifications offered are GCSE, A-Levels, BMAT, ELAT, HAT, PPE, STEP Papers.
  3. The subjects offered for these qualifications in any academic year may be found on the School website for that year. If there is to be a change of specification, the Exams Officer must be informed by June of the previous year.
  4. At Key Stage 4, decisions on whether a candidate should not take an individual subject will be taken in consultation with the candidates, parents/carers. For some subjects (e.g. science) the subject certification entered will be discussed with candidates, parents and subject co-ordinator.

4 Exam Seasons and Timetables

4.1 Exam Seasons

  1. Internal exams are scheduled in November/December, January/February, May and June. External exams are scheduled in the June session.
  2. All internal exams are held under external exam conditions. External and internal exams will not be held in the same room at the same time, in accordance with JCQ policy.

4.2 Timetables

  1. The Exams Officer will circulate the exam timetables for both external and internal exams once these are confirmed.

5 Entries, Entry details, Late Entries and Resits

5.1 Entries

  1. Candidates are selected for their exam entries by the Subject Leader and the subject teachers.
  2. A candidate or parent/carer can request a subject entry, change of level or withdrawal, but this must be agreed by the Subject Leader, Head of Year and LT.
  3. The Headteacher has absolute discretion as to whether or not to accept external candidates. Except in exceptional circumstances, the centre accepts external entries from former candidates only.

5.2 Late entries

  1. Late entries are authorised by the Exams Officer only. Departments who do not meet the deadline for signing off entries will be charged late entry fees. Candidates who do not meet the deadline date for re-sits will be charged late entry fees.

5.3 Resits

  1. Students must pay for any resits they choose to take. Retake decisions will be made in consultation with parents, subject teachers, Subject Leader and the Exams Officer. The resit fee will include the cost of the examination plus a reasonable administration charge. (See also section 5: Exam fees)

6 Exam Fees

  1. GCSE initial registration and entry exam fees are paid by the centre.
  2. A-Level initial registration and entry exam fees are paid by the centre.
  3. Late entry or amendment fees will be paid by the departments. In certain circumstances, for example a candidate did not want to be entered for a subject but changed their mind at the last minute; candidates will be charged late entry or amendment fees.
  4. Candidates or departments will not be charged for changes of tier, withdrawals made by the proper procedures or alterations arising from administrative processes, provided these are made within the time allowed by the awarding bodies.
  5. Reimbursement will be sought from candidates who fail to sit an exam or meet the necessary coursework requirements.
  6. Fees for all resits are paid by the candidates. (See also section 5.3: Retakes)
  7. Candidates must pay the fee for any enquiry about a result that they request. (See also section 11.2: Enquiries about results [EARs])

7 The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), Special Needs and Access Arrangements

7.1 DDA

  1. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 extends the application of the DDA to general qualifications. All exam centre staff must ensure that the access arrangements and special consideration regulations and guidance are consistent with the law.

7.2 Special Needs

  1. A candidate’s special needs requirements are determined by the SENCO.
  2. The SEN Administrator will inform subject teachers and Exams Office staff of candidates with special educational needs who are embarking on a course leading to an exam. The SEN Administrator can then inform individual staff of any special arrangements that individual candidates may be granted during the course and in the exam.

7.3 Access arrangements

  1. Making special arrangements for candidates to take exams and submitting completed access arrangement applications to the awarding bodies is the responsibility of the Exams Officer.
  2. Rooming, invigilation and support for access arrangement candidates will be arranged by the Exams Officer.

7.4 Use of Word Processors for GCSE and GCE A Level Exams

  1. Permission for a student to use a word processor, with the spelling and grammar check facility/predictive text disabled, within a classroom environment and for internal and external examinations must be obtained from the School SENCO and will only be considered if any of the following circumstances are met:
    1. A learning disability which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to write legibly
    2. A medical condition
    3. A physical disability
    4. A sensory impairment
    5. Illegible handwriting
  2. The school’s SENCO will determine whether handwriting is sufficiently illegible before considering whether a word processor is necessary. In most cases remedial support to improve the legibility of handwriting will be offered and accepted by the student, before any request for a word processor is granted.

8 Estimated grades and Coursework Marks

  1. The Subject Leaders will submit estimated grades and coursework marks to the Exams Officer when requested by the Exams Officer.
  2. Where coursework or other tasks that form part of a qualification are marked internally, any policy concerning the release of unmoderated, raw marks will be determined by the Department concerned and approved by the Leadership Team.

9 Managing Invigilators and Exam Days

9.1 Managing invigilators

  1. External invigilators will be used for all exam supervision. The recruitment, training and monitoring of invigilators is the responsibility of the Exams Officer.
  2. Securing the necessary Disclosure (DBS) clearance for new invigilators is the responsibility of the centre. DBS fees for securing such clearance are paid by the centre. Invigilators are timetabled and briefed by the Exams Officer. Invigilators’ rates of pay are set by the centre administration.

9.2 Exam days

  1. The Exams Officer will book all exam rooms after liaison with other users and make the question papers, other exam stationery and materials available for the invigilator.
  2. Site management is responsible for setting up the allocated rooms.
  3. The team leader will manage the invigilators during an exam in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
  4. Subject staff must not be present during an exam of that subject (but in practical exams subject teachers may be on hand in case of any technical difficulties).
  5. Exam papers must not be read by subject teachers or removed from the exam room before the end of the session. Spare papers will be distributed to Subject Leaders by the Exams Officer as soon as is practical after the end of the exam session.

10 Candidates, Clash Candidates and Special Consideration

10.1 Candidates

  1. The centre’s published rules on acceptable dress, behaviour and candidates’ use of mobile phones and all electronic devices apply at all times.
  2. Candidates’ personal belongings remain their own responsibility and the centre accepts no liability for their loss or damage.
  3. Disruptive candidates are dealt with in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
  4. The Exams Officer will attempt to contact any candidate who is not present at the start of an exam and deal with them in accordance with JCQ guidelines.

10.2 Clash candidates

  1. The Exams Officer will be responsible as necessary for arranging suitable supervision and arranging overnight stays.

10.3 Special consideration

  1. Should a candidate be too ill to sit an exam, suffer bereavement or other trauma or be taken ill during the exam itself, it is the candidate’s responsibility to alert the Exams Officer, or the exam invigilator, to that effect.
  2. Any special consideration claim must be supported by appropriate evidence (the Exams Officer will give guidance on what is required) within five days of the exam, for example a letter from the candidate’s doctor.
  3. The Exams Officer will then forward a completed special consideration application to the relevant awarding body.

11 Coursework and Appeals against Internal Assessments

11.1 Coursework

  1. Candidates who have to prepare portfolios must do so by deadline date set by the Subject Leader. Every effort will be made to support candidates as they prepare their coursework but, other than in exceptional circumstances which are individually approved by the Headteacher, coursework portfolios submitted after the published deadline will not be accepted.
  2. Subject Leaders will ensure all coursework is ready for despatch at the correct time and the Exams Officer will keep a record of what has been sent when and to whom.
  3. Marks for all internally assessed work are provided to the exams office by the Subject Leaders before the examining board’s deadline.

11.2 Appeals against internal assessments

  1. The main points are:
    1. appeals will only be entertained if they apply to the process leading to an assessment. There is no appeal against the mark or grade awarded
    2. candidates may appeal if they feel their coursework has been assessed unfairly, inconsistently or not in accordance with the specification for the qualification
    3. appeals should be made in writing by 1May to the Exams Officer who will decide, in consultation with the Headteacher, whether the process used conformed to the necessary requirements
    4. the result of the appeal will be notified in writing to the candidate and recorded for awarding body inspection.

12 Results, Enquiries about Results (EARs) and Access to Scripts (ATS)

12.1 Results

  1. Candidates will receive individual results slips on results days in person at the centre / by post to their home addresses (candidates to provide s.a.e.).
  2. Arrangements for the School to be open on results days are made by the Headteacher. The provision of staff on results days is the responsibility of the Headteacher.
  3. The School will publish, in local newspapers, subjects passed (without grades) by students. If any student does not wish their results to be published, he/she should inform the Exams Officer before July.
  4. The School may submit press release(s) which comment upon the results. The School may name any particular successful student(s) and list their grades unless he/she has previously informed the School that he/she does not wish this information to be published.

12.2 EARs

  1. EARs may be requested by candidates or centre staff if there are reasonable grounds for believing there has been an error in marking.
  2. Candidates must pay for requests. If the Headteacher agrees to support and pay for the enquiry of a Subject Leader about a written examination for a group of students, the permission of each student must be obtained before any request is made.
  3. A Subject Leader may request (in consultation with the Headteacher) re-moderation of coursework at the School’s expense.

12.3 ATS

  1. If a result is queried, the Exams Officer will investigate the feasibility of asking for a re-mark at the centre’s expense and advise the Subject Leader and Headteacher accordingly.
  2. Centre staff may also request scripts for investigation or for teaching purposes. For the latter, the consent of candidates must be obtained.

13 Certificates

  1. Certificates are presented in person and collected and signed for.
  2. Certificates may be collected on behalf of a candidate by a third party, provided they have authorization from the candidate with them. Certificates may be withheld from candidates who owe fees.
  3. A transcript of results may be issued if a candidate agrees to pay the costs incurred. The centre retains certificates for five years. Any certificates not collected at the end of this period will be shredded.

14 Internal Examination Appeals Procedure

  1. The School is committed to ensuring that whenever staff assesses students’ work for external qualification; this is done fairly, consistently and in accordance with specification for the qualification concerned. Assessments should be conducted by staff that has appropriate knowledge, understanding and skills. Students’ work should be produced and authenticated according to the requirements of the examining board.
  2. Where a set of work is divided between staff, consistency should be assured by internal moderation and standardisation.
  3. If a student believes that this may not have happened in relation to his/her work, he/she may make use of the appeals procedure. Note that the appeals procedure may only be made against the process that led to the assessment and not against the mark awarded.
  4. The existence of this procedure should be made known to students when they submit coursework.

14.1 The Appeal Process

  1. appeals will only be entertained if they apply to the process leading to an assessment. There is no appeal against the mark or grade awarded and candidates may appeal if they feel their coursework has been assessed unfairly, inconsistently or not in accordance with the specification for the qualification
  2. appeals should be made in writing by 1 May to the Exams Officer who will decide, in consultation with the Headteacher, whether the process used conformed to the necessary requirements of the QCA and the examining board
  3. the result of the appeal (and any changes made to the assessment of the piece of work in question and any changes made for the future) will be notified in writing to the candidate and recorded for awarding body inspection.
  4. After work has been assessed internally, it is moderated by the awarding body to ensure consistency between centres. Such moderation may change the marks awarded by the centre. This is outside the control of the centre and is not covered by this procedure.

15 Monitoring and review

  1. This policy will be monitored by the governing body’s C & P Committee.
  2. This exam policy will be reviewed by the Headteacher, Leadership Team, Exams Officer and the Governors.

16 Ownership and Date of the next review

  1. Policy owned by: Curriculum and Personnel committee
  2. Last Reviewed and Approved on: 09 June 2021
  3. Next Review due: June 2023