Last reviewed on 17 February 2023
Statutory/mandatory for: Maintained schools Academies Free schools Independent schools Sixth-form colleges Further education Pupil referral units Non-maintained special schools

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.

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