Coronavirus: Ofqual braces for exam disruption risk

Exams regulator in talks with exam boards and will update guidance for schools and colleges in case of widespread outbreak

Catherine Lough and Amy Gibbons

Tes podcast: learning Coronavirus lessons from SE Asia

Ofqual has said it is "working closely" with awarding organisations and the Department for Education to prepare for potential exam disruption in the event of a major coronavirus outbreak.

The regulator told Tes that trying to "put a label" on the situation is difficult as "so much as happened so fast", but the smooth running of exams could be affected if a percentage of pupils are not able to sit the tests.

Coronavirus: To close or not to close schools?

News: School closed as precaution against coronavirus

Advice: 10 things schools need to know about coronavirus

In the meantime, Ofqual said schools and colleges should continue to prepare for summer exams and assessments as normal.

A spokesperson said: "Some of the questions [about if exams will go ahead] are: would children be available; would students be there; what if a percentage of students are and are not?

"The situation with this is so changeable, and so much has happened so fast, so trying to put a label on it at the moment is really quite difficult, but those discussions will continue.

The spokesperson advised schools to "keep a close eye on the website" to ensure they can react to any updated guidance on the evolving risk from the virus.

In a separate statement on the government website, Ofqual added: "We are working closely with awarding organisations and the Department for Education to consider how to manage any particular risks to the smooth running of exams and assessments should there be a widespread outbreak of coronavirus.

"We will update our existing guidance to reflect any specific arrangements schools and colleges should put in place if required.

"In the meantime, students, schools and colleges should continue to prepare for the summer exams and assessments as usual."

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Catherine Lough and Amy Gibbons

Latest stories

Classroom humour: Teacher pranks that annoy pupils

10 teacher pranks that annoy pupils

From referring to 'InstaChat' to telling tall stories, here are some of the ways staff give themselves a laugh in class
Dave Speck 17 May 2021
Woman, squeezed into cardboard box

Why I can't stand set lesson plans

Any one-size-fits-all structure imposed on classroom teachers risks removing the joy from learning, says Megan Mansworth
Megan Mansworth 17 May 2021