Precautions against swine flu as 'contact' made in Scotland

8th May 2009 at 01:00

One scottish pupil sat exams in isolation this week as a precautionary measure after being in contact with a possible case of swine flu.

But the message from the Scottish Government was that it was still business as usual for exam arrangements in Scotland as long as no cases were confirmed in its schools.

As the five-week Scottish Qualifications Authority exams got underway this week, the focus was on minimising disruption.

In a separate case, a pupil at Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh was named last week as a "contact" but has not developed into a "case", said the Scottish Government.

In England, however, five schools and a nursery have been shut after pupils became ill with the A(H1N1) strain of flu.

Exam regulators south of the border said pupils who could not sit GCSE or A Level exams would be awarded grades based on other evidence, such as coursework or predicted marks.

There are also fears for the Sats tests, due to be taken by 600,000 11-year-olds next week. Jim Knight, the Westminster Schools Minister, urged schools not to panic and rush to close unless they had received specific advice from the Health Protection Agency.

The Scottish Government has refused to divulge details of its contingency plans, saying only that they are under review if the situation changes. "Clearly, England is in a different position with confirmed cases in schools," said a spokesman.

However, the Scottish Government and the SQA held discussions last Friday with government representatives for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the higher education admissions body UCAS, and other UK awarding bodies, to agree a common approach, if required.

That will be taken as an indication that, should cases develop in Scottish schools, the SQA is likely to follow similar action and award grades to pupils on the basis of coursework and teachers' predictions.

A Government spokeswoman said: "The SQA has procedures in place to cater for candidates who cannot sit their exams for any reason. If this procedure is invoked, it would look at what is termed `alternative evidence' and an award and a grade could be made on the basis of course work and performance in the preliminary exam.

"The SQA's priority would be to ensure that candidates be treated fairly and not be disadvantaged and that their work assessed and qualifications awarded in line with recognised frameworks."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now