Guidance

Key stage 2 tests: how to apply for a timetable variation

Information about how teachers can reschedule the key stage 2 tests.

Some pupils may be able to take a test at a different time from the rest of the cohort, subject to strict criteria. Schools can use 2 types of timetable variation to change the 2015 test timetable (ODT, 50.4KB) . Both must be approved by the headteacher before submission to STA.

You can use a timetable variation to vary the test time:

  • to a different day, up to 5 school days after the day specified in the statutory timetable
  • between 7:00am and 7:00pm on the day of a test, so that an individual pupil can take a test on the scheduled date, but separately from the rest of the cohort

Under no circumstances may a test be taken before the day specified in the statutory timetable.

Apply for a timetable variation

You must complete the appropriate form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of the NCA tools website.

All timetable variations must be approved by the headteacher before submission to STA. Schools can use 2 types of timetable variation. Both must be approved by the headteacher. Timetable variations can be used to change the statutory timetable:

  • by up to a week (5 school days) after the day specified in the statutory timetable
  • so that an individual child can take a test on the scheduled date, but separately from the rest of the cohort, between 7:00am and 7:00pm on the day of a test

Under no circumstances may a test be taken before the day specified in the statutory timetable.

Timetable variations will only be granted if:

  • pupils take the test(s) at the nominated time(s)
  • we are informed of any variation to the nominated time(s)
  • the pupils are kept apart from other pupils who have taken the test(s)
  • the pupils haven’t had access to the internet

It is maladministration for a school to vary the statutory test timetable without us giving permission or a school providing notification to us, as appropriate. This could lead to the annulment of pupils’ results. If you are in any doubt about the type of timetable variation to make, contact the national curriculum assessments helpline.

If you are in any doubt about the type of timetable variation to make, contact the national curriculum assessments helpline.

To move a test by up to 5 school days

Submit an online ‘Application for a timetable variation’ form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of the NCA tools website to move the test to a different day. You can move a test up to 5 school days after the date specified in the statutory timetable. You must not administer the test to the pupil until we have approved your application.

We will consider your application if a pupil:

  • is absent on the day of the test due to illness
  • has an important appointment that can’t be rearranged, eg hospital appointments, court appearances and national and international sports participation
  • is observing a religious or cultural festival

We will also consider applications if your school:

  • is being used as a polling station for local or general elections, if it isn’t possible to continue with test administration in another part of the school
  • has to deal with unforeseeable problems, eg flooding
  • has a short working day, eg in a pupil referral unit
  • has received its test materials late, so that it can’t administer the tests on the scheduled dates

We will not allow the test timetable to be changed for:

  • family holidays
  • school activities, eg staff training events, field trips and excursions

Approval

If a pupil is absent on the day of the test, wait until the pupil has returned to school before making an application. We won’t accept applications unless we are sure which day the test will be taken.

You need to allow up to an hour for your application to be processed. Please bear this in mind when submitting your application. The pupil must not take the test until the application has been formally approved.

You will receive an automated email to tell you whether your application has been approved, rejected or that more information is required.

To vary the time of a test on the scheduled day

You must notify us if you are going to make a timetable variation for individual pupils between 7:00am and 7:00pm on the day of a test. In the interest of pupil welfare, pupils mustn’t take the tests before 7:00am or after 7:00pm.

You may move the test on the scheduled day if, for example:

  • a pupil is ill
  • a pupil arrives late
  • you need to move a test to the afternoon so you can arrange for a scribe because a pupil arrives in school on the morning of a scheduled test with a broken arm
  • you need to stagger the tests because you have a large cohort but not enough staff to administer the tests to all pupils at the same time
  • you have a number of pupils who need readers, translators or scribes and you don’t have enough staff to support them if they were to take the test at the same time

Approval

Submit an online ‘Notification of a timetable variation’ form using the ‘Access arrangements’ section of the NCA tools website before the test is administered to the pupil. We don’t approve or reject notifications so you don’t need to wait to administer the test to the pupil.

Headteachers’ responsibilities

Headteachers must make a judgement about any proposed timetable variations.

Schools must not administer a timetable variation unless the headteacher can confirm that:

  • the content of the test(s) has remained confidential
  • the pupil has not been in contact with any of the pupils who have already taken the test(s)
  • the pupil has not had access to the internet

Headteachers may decide to contact the pupil’s parents to confirm that the integrity of the tests has been maintained. If a pupil has had contact with pupils who have taken the test or access to the internet, the pupil must not take the test. They must be marked as absent on the attendance register.

This table summarises what action you need to take if a pupil is late or absent on the day of a test.

Circumstance Action required ‘Application’ or ‘notification’ of a timetable variation required?
A pupil arrives late but before the rest of the pupils have completed the test. The pupil should be given the full time to complete the test. No
A pupil arrives after the test has been completed, but before the rest of the cohort has left the test room. The pupil should be kept isolated from the rest of the cohort until the pupil’s rescheduled test has been administered. No
A pupil arrives after the test has been completed and the pupils have left the test room. The pupil should be kept isolated from the rest of the cohort until the pupil’s rescheduled test has been administered. Yes - notification of a timetable variation
The school is unable to administer a test to the whole cohort in 1 sitting. The school may administer the test in 2 or more sittings on the scheduled day of the test. No pupil should have the opportunity to communicate with any pupil who has already taken the test. Yes -notification of a timetable variation
A pupil is absent on the day of a test and returns to school within 5 school days of the published test date. The headteacher must first confirm that the pupil hasn’t had any contact with any other pupil who has already sat the test or had access to the internet. Yes - application for a timetable variation

Help and support

Standards and Testing Agency

For general enquiries about national curriculum tests.