Coronavirus: 'Prepare as normal' for Scottish exams

There is no change to exams calendar, but the 'evolving' situation will be monitored as events unfold

Henry Hepburn

Coronavirus: 'Prepare as normal' for Scottish exams

Teachers and students in Scotland have been told to "prepare as normal" for exams, despite growing concerns over the impact of coronavirus.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) sought to allay concerns today, less than two hours after first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that, if schools close, they may have to do so until the summer holidays.

The exams are due to start on Monday 27 April, lasting until Thursday 4 June. Tes Scotland had asked the SQA for an update on how this schedule might be affected by coronavirus.

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One headteacher told Tes Scotland today that “lots of parents are worried” about the ramifications for the students due to be sitting exams then. Yesterday, a teaching union expressed concerns over signs that some schools might “overreact” by putting students through extra examinations as a back-up in case the SQA exams are disrupted.

In a statement, SQA said there was "no change" to the timetable "at present", and as a result its advice was "continue to prepare as normal". However, it acknowledged that the situation was "evolving".

The full statement reads: "We know that learners, parents, schools and colleges will be concerned about the possible impact of the coronavirus on the national qualifications 2020 examinations timetable. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is continuing to monitor the situation, in close contact with the Scottish government and other regulators and awarding bodies across the UK.   

"At present, there is no change to the published national qualifications examination timetable. Our advice therefore is to continue to prepare as normal. All current deadlines for coursework and other assessments remain in place and the exam timetable is currently scheduled to run from 27 April until 4 June 2020.

"Schools and colleges should be gathering any alternative evidence on candidate performance as they would do in the normal way, and as per our guidance every year, to support any consideration of exceptional circumstances. This evidence should inform estimated grades, again as it should every year.

"We fully recognise that this is an evolving situation and, as you would expect, we are working through a range of scenarios. Our overriding priority, drawing on the latest guidance, is to deliver a safe and secure examination timetable with minimal disruption, which is fair to learners.

"Markers and invigilators play a critical role in the delivery of our qualifications. We are reviewing our marking and invigilation processes and will issue further communication to schools and colleges shortly.

"We are also strongly encouraging all candidates to sign up to MySQA, our online and text service, as a direct way to receive their results.

"We will continue to review the latest evidence and will communicate further updates as necessary."

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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