How to review your examination contingency plan

Awarding bodies require exam centres to have an exam contingency plan. Use our recommended questions to help you check your school's or trust's plan is fit for purpose.

Last reviewed on 17 February 2023
Ref: 38493
Statutory/mandatory for:
Maintained schools
Free schools
Independent schools
Sixth-form colleges
Further education
Pupil referral units
Non-maintained special schools
  1. All exam centres must have an examination contingency plan
  2. Key things to look out for
  3. 3 key questions to challenge the plan
  4. Model examination contingency plan
  5. Examples of examination contingency plans

All exam centres must have an examination contingency plan

This is explained on the website of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), a membership organisation comprising the 8 largest providers of qualifications in the UK.

Key things to look out for

The JCQ doesn't require a specific format or template, but you should expect to see plans for a number of possible scenarios, such as:

  • Disruption or closure of the exam centre
  • Disruption to the distribution of exam papers or transportation of completed scripts
  • Damage or destruction of assessment evidence
  • IT failures
  • Emergency evacuation of exam rooms
  • Lack of trained invigilators

You'll want to see that your school's plan includes any scenarios appropriate to your school, and that it takes account of Ofqual’s contingency planning guidance.

The planning for each scenario should ideally include what actions will be taken, and who is responsible for taking them.

Ask these questions to make sure

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