Guidance

Responsibility for exams

Guidance for schools, colleges and exam centres on who should enter students for exams, the health arrangements for exams and the support DfE is providing.

Applies to England

Documents

Details

This guidance is for:

  • school and college senior leaders, heads of exam centres
  • teachers, exams officers and other staff involved in exam delivery
  • local authorities and multi-academy trusts (MATs)

It sets out your responsibility for running exams.

‘Exam centre responsibility for students retaking qualifications from summer 2020 and 2021’ explains your responsibility for entering students for exams or alternative arrangements to exams and how the cost of fees will be covered.

DfE exam support service: autumn exam fees, sites and invigilators’ explains how you can use the service to book alternative sites, DBS-checked staff for invigilation and cover essential additional costs, where applicable.

‘Public health guidance to support exams for 2021 to 2022’ explains the key public health arrangements for exams to enable you to deliver exams in a coronavirus (COVID-19) secure way. This includes wearing of face coverings in exams, set up of the exam room, cleaning and arrival and departure of candidates.

If you are a student, you should contact your school or college to discuss entering exams.

Published 22 May 2020
Last updated 2 December 2021 + show all updates
  1. We have added clarification on the use of face visors and face shields by those who are exempt from wearing face coverings.

  2. Updated guidance on face coverings, travel and quarantine to reflect new measures announced on 27 November 2021.

  3. Updated 'public health guidance to support exams for 2021 to 2022' to remove content related to summer term 2021 exams and add information on the exam support service for autumn exams (including spring 2022 VTQ exams).

  4. We have updated 'Exam centre responsibility for students retaking qualifications from summer 2020 and summer 2021' and 'DfE exam support service: autumn 2021 exam fees, venues and invigilators' guidance with autumn exam series information.

  5. Updated 'Public health guidance to support exams from January 2021' guidance. Updated Stepping measures up and down section - it refers to updated contingency framework. Updated Where candidates are isolating in line with public health advice in the Candidate health section - it reflects the self-isolation requirements from 16 August.

  6. Update to the Public health guidance to support exams from January 2021. The update sets out what will change for exams and assessments from the start of the autumn term following the commencement of Step 4.

  7. Updated 'Exam centre responsibility for students retaking qualifications from summer 2020 and summer 2021' and 'DfE exam support service: autumn 2021 exam fees, venues and invigilators'.

  8. We have updated the public health guidance for exams with advice that applies from Step 4, to reflect the updated advice for schools and further education providers. This guidance removes restrictions such as keeping students in consistent groups (bubbles) and wearing face coverings in classrooms and communal areas and on dedicated transport.

  9. Updated 'Public health guidance to support exams from January 2021' to reflect step 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown. The guidance on face coverings has been updated and information specific to the spring term 2021 has been removed.

  10. 'Exam centre responsibility for students retaking qualifications from summer 2020’ has been updated to explain responsibility for entering students for exams or alternative arrangements to exams and how the cost of fees will be covered.

  11. Updated 'Public health guidance to support exams from January 2021' to confirm the types of scheduled assessments that can still go ahead.

  12. Added information to 'Public health guidance to support exams from January 2021' about scheduled assessments in February and March.

  13. Updated the public health guidance to support exams from January 2021 to reflect that schools and colleges can continue with vocational and technical exams, where they judge it right to do so. This includes updates to the sections on the set up of the exam room, face coverings, maintaining distance between staff and candidates and where a candidate has a negative test.

  14. Updated public health guidance and school and college responsibility guidance for exams from January 2021 onwards.

  15. Added information about the support available for functional skills qualifications (FSQs).

  16. Updated information on public health arrangements for autumn exams to include information on autumn exam contingencies, candidate health and reasonable adjustments.

  17. Added 'Public health arrangements for autumn exams'.

  18. Updated responsibilities guidance with information about entering students for maths and English language GCSE and links to wider guidance for conducting exams. Added DfE exam support service guidance about paying for exam fees, booking alternative sites and booking exam invigilation.

  19. Updated key points and background sections.

  20. Updated guidance setting out the support that DfE is providing for autumn exams through the DfE Exam Support Service.

  21. First published.