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Examinations policy

Adopted: March 2017

The purpose of this exam policy is:

  • To ensure the planning and management of exams is conducted efficiently and in the best interest of candidates
  • To ensure the operation of an efficient exam system with clear guidelines for all relevant staff.

It is the responsibility of everyone involved in the centre’s exam processes to read, understand and implement this policy.

This exam policy will be reviewed every year. 

This exam policy will be reviewed by the Head of Centre, Exams Manager and the governors.

1. Exam responsibilities

Head of Centre
Overall responsibility for the school as an exam centre:

  • Advises on appeals and re-marks
  • The head of centre is responsible for ensuring that all suspicions or actual incidents of malpractice are reported. Refer to the JCQ document Suspected malpractice in examinations and assessments.

Exams Manager
Manages the administration of public and internal exams:

  • Advises the senior leadership team, subject and class tutors and other relevant support staff on annual exam timetables and application procedures as set by the various awarding bodies
  • Oversees the production and distribution to staff, governors and candidates of an annual calendar for all exams in which candidates will be involved and communicates regularly with staff concerning imminent deadlines and events
  • Ensures that candidates and their parents are informed of and understand those aspects of the exam timetable that will affect them
  • Consults with teaching staff to ensure that necessary controlled assessment is completed on time and in accordance with JCQ guidelines
  • Provides and confirms detailed data on estimated entries
  • Receives, checks and stores securely all exam papers and completed scripts
  • Administers access arrangements and applications for special consideration using the JCQ Access arrangements and special considerations regulations and Guidance relating to candidates who are eligible for adjustments in examinations
  • Identifies and manages exam timetable clashes
  • Manages the organisation of recruitment, training and monitoring of a team of exams invigilators responsible for the conduct of exams
  • Manages the submission candidates’ controlled assessment marks, tracks despatch and stores returned controlled assessment and any other material required by the appropriate awarding bodies correctly and on schedule
  • Arranges for dissemination of exam results and certificates to candidates and forwards, in consultation with the SLT, any appeals/re-mark requests
  • Maintains systems and processes to support the timely entry of candidates for their exams.

Vice principal

  • Organisation of teaching and learning.
  • External validation of courses followed at Key Stage 4
  • To ensure that the exam system continues to function in the event of the Exams Manager not being available.

Heads of faculty / department

  • Guidance and pastoral oversight of candidates who are unsure about exam entries or amendments to entries.
  • Involvement in post-results procedures.
  • Accurate completion of coursework mark sheets and declaration sheets.
  • Accurate completion of entry and all other mark sheets and adherence to deadlines as set by the Exams Manager.

SENDCO

  • Administration of access arrangements.
  • Identification and testing of candidates, requirements for access arrangements.
  • Provision of additional support - with spelling, reading, mathematics, dyslexia or essential skills, hearing impairment, English for speakers of other languages, IT equipment - to help candidates achieve their course aims.

Lead invigilator / invigilators

  • Collection of exam papers and other material from the exams office before the start of the exam.
  • Collection of all exam papers in the correct order at the end of the exam and their return to the exams office.

Candidates

  • Confirmation and signing of entries.
  • Understanding coursework regulations and signing a declaration that authenticates the coursework as their own.

2. The qualifications offered

The qualifications offered at this centre are decided by the Head of Centre, Vice Principal, Curriculum Leads and the Senior Leadership Team.

The qualifications offered are AS, GCSE, Entry Level and OCR Nationals.

The subjects offered for these qualifications in any academic year may be found in the centre’s published prospectus for that year. If there has been a change of syllabus from the previous year, the Exams Officer must be informed by the 31st March of the Academic year.

Decisions on whether a candidate should not take an individual subject will be taken in consultation with the parents/carers, SENDCO, subject teachers and the Vice Principal. 

At Key Stage 4 all candidates will be entitled, and enabled, to achieve an entry for qualifications from an external awarding body.

3. Exam seasons and timetables

3.1 Exam seasons

Internal exams are scheduled in December and May.

External exams are scheduled in May / June.

All internal exams are held under external exam conditions.

3.2 Timetables

Once confirmed, the Exams Manager will circulate the exam timetables for internal exams and external exams.

4. Entries, entry details and late entries

4.1 Entries

Candidates are selected for their exam entries by the heads of subject and the heads of department.

Candidates, or parents/carers, can request a subject entry, change of level or withdrawal but SLT will be the final arbiters.

The centre does accept entries from external candidates at the Examination Managers discretion.

4.2 Late entries

Entry deadlines are circulated to the Subject Leaders.

Late entries are authorised by the Assistant Principal for Raising Achievement and Exams Manager.

5. Exam fees

The centre will pay all normal exam fees on behalf of internal candidates.
Late entry or amendment fees are paid by centre.

Candidates or departments will not be charged for changes of tier, withdrawals made by the proper procedures or alterations arising from administrative processes provided these are made within the time allowed by the awarding bodies.

6. The Equality Act 2010, special needs and access arrangements

6.1 Equality Act 2010

All exam center staff must ensure that the access arrangements and special consideration regulations and guidance are consistent with the law. 

6.2 Special needs

A candidate’s special needs requirements are determined by the SENDCO, educational psychologist / specialist teacher.

The SENDCO will inform subject teachers of candidates with special educational needs who are embarking on a course leading to an exam, and the date of that exam. The SENDCO can then inform individual staff of any special arrangements that individual candidates can be granted during the course and in the exam.

6.3 Access arrangements

Making special arrangements for candidates to take exams is the responsibility of the SENDCO, and the Exams Manager.

Submitting completed access arrangement applications to the awarding bodies is the responsibility of the SENDCO.

Rooming for access arrangement candidates will be arranged by the SENDCO and the Exams Manager.

Invigilation and support for access arrangement candidates will be organised by the SENDCO and the Exams Manager.

7. Estimated grades

The heads of subject will submit estimated grades to the Exams Manager when requested by the Exams Manager.

8. Managing invigilators and exam days

8.1 Managing invigilators and readers / scribes

External invigilators will be used for internal exams and external exams.

The recruitment of invigilators is the responsibility of the exams office.

Securing the necessary Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) clearance for new invigilators is the responsibility of the centre administration.  DBS fees for securing such clearance are paid by the centre.

Invigilators are timetabled and briefed by the exams office. 

Readers / scribes are to be recruited as necessary.  

The recruitment of readers / scribes is the responsibility of the care & guidance office.

Readers / scribes are timetabled and briefed by the care & guidance office.

8.2 Exam days

The Exams Manager will book all exam rooms after liaison with other users and make the question papers, other exam stationery and materials available for the invigilators.

Site management is responsible for setting up the allocated rooms.

The Exams Manager or lead invigilator will start all exams in accordance with JCQ guidelines.

Subject staff may be present at the start of the exam to assist with identification of candidates but must not advise on which questions are to be attempted.
In practical / specialist exams subject teachers may be on hand in case of any technical difficulties.

Exam papers must not be removed from the exam room before the end of a session. Papers will be distributed to heads of department at the end of the exam session.

A relevant subject teacher may be available to read out any subject-specific instructions and start the exam, if required.

9. Candidates, clash candidates and special consideration

9.1 Candidates

The centre’s published rules on acceptable dress and behaviour and JCQ’s rules about mobile phones and all electronic devices apply at all times.

Candidates’ personal belongings remain their own responsibility and the centre accepts no liability for their loss or damage.

Disruptive candidates are dealt with in accordance with JCQ guidelines.

Candidates may leave the exam room for a genuine purpose requiring an immediate return to the exam room, in which case a member of invigilation staff must accompany them.

The Exams Manager will attempt to contact any candidate who is not present at the start of an exam and deal with them in accordance with JCQ guidelines.

9.2 Clash candidates

The Exams Manager will be responsible as necessary for supervising escorts, identifying a secure venue and arranging overnight stays.

9.3 Special consideration

Should a candidate be ill before an exam, suffer bereavement or other trauma, be taken ill during the exam itself or otherwise disadvantaged or disturbed during an exam, then it is the candidate’s responsibility to alert the centre, the Exams Manager, or the exam invigilator, to that effect.

The candidate must support any special consideration claim with appropriate evidence within three days of the exam, for example a letter from the candidate’s doctor.

The Exams Manager will then complete a special consideration application to the relevant awarding body within seven days of the exam.

10. Coursework and appeals against internal assessments

10.1 Controlled Assessment

Candidates who have to prepare controlled assessment should do so by the date set by the teaching staff of the course.

Heads of Faculty and Subject Leaders will ensure all controlled assessment is ready for dispatch at the correct time. The Exams Manager will keep a record of what has been sent when and to whom.

Marks for all internally assessed work and estimated grades are provided to the exams office by the Heads of Faculty and the Subject Leaders.

10.2 Appeals against internal assessments

In accordance with the Code of Practice for the conduct of external qualifications produced by QCA, Hethersett Academy is committed to ensuring that:

  • Internal assessments are conducted by staff who have the appropriate knowledge, understanding and skills;    
  • Assessment evidence provided by candidates has been produced and authenticated according to the requirements of the specification;    
  • The consistency of the internal assessment is secured through internal standardisation as necessary;    
  • Staff responsible for internal standardisation attend any compulsory training sessions.

10.2.1 Written appeals procedure

Each awarding body publishes its arrangements for appeals against its decisions. In addition, an appeal can be made to the Academy concerning the internal assessment:     

  • The appeal applies only to the procedures used in arriving at internal assessment decisions and does not apply to the judgement themselves; you cannot appeal against the mark or grade only the procedures used    
  • The parent or guardian must make the appeal in writing to the Assistant Principal for Raising Achievement or School’s Examinations Manager at least two weeks before the date of the last externally assessed paper of the series;    
  • The enquiry into the internal process will normally be led by either the Assistant Principal for Raising Achievement or another member of the Senior Leadership Team, provided that neither has played any part in the original internal assessment process;
  • The enquiry will consider whether the procedures used for the internal assessment were in conformity with the published requirements of the Awarding Body and the ‘Code of Practice’.

The appellant will be informed in writing of the outcome of the appeal, including:

  • Relevant communications with the Awarding Body;
  • Any steps taken to further protect the interest of the candidates.

Each awarding body specifies detailed criteria for the internal assessment of work.  In addition, the awarding body must moderate the assessment and the final judgement on marks awarded is that of the awarding body.  Appeals against matters outside the Academy’s control will not be considered in the Academy’s appeals procedure.

11. Results, enquiries about results (EARs) and access to scripts (ATS)

11.1 Results

Candidates will receive individual results slips on results days either in person at the centre or by post to their home addresses.

Arrangements for the school to be open on results days are made by the Assistant Principal for Raising Achievement.

The provision of staff on results days is the responsibility of the Assistant Principal for Raising Achievement.

11.2 EARs

EARs may be requested by centre staff or candidates if there are reasonable grounds for believing there has been an error in marking.

If a result is queried by centre staff, the Exams Manager, teaching staff and head of centre will investigate the feasibility of asking for a re-mark at the centre’s expense.

If a result is queried by a candidate, then the candidate will be charged.
In all cases a JCQ Candidate Consent Form must be completed by the candidate and returned to the Exams Manager.

11.3 ATS

After the release of results, candidates may ask subject staff to request the return of papers within three days’ scrutiny of the results.

Centre staff may also request scripts for investigation or for teaching purposes. For the latter, the consent of candidates must be obtained.

GCSE re-marks cannot be applied for once a script has been returned. 

12. Certificates

Certificates are presented in person or collected and signed for.

Certificates may be collected on behalf of a candidate by a third party, provided they have been authorised to do so.

Replacement certificates are only issued by the Awarding Bodies at the candidate’s expense.

The centre retains certificates for one year only.