No change to exam timetable ‘at present’

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The Scottish Qualifications Authority has said there will be no changes to the exam timetable “at present”.

The body released its latest advice to allay concerns as Scotland entered a new phase of coronavirus management.

Nicola Sturgeon said it was not yet necessary to close schools, but advised all overseas school trips should be cancelled.

The SQA has since urged learners, parents, schools and colleges to “continue to prepare as normal”.

All current deadlines for coursework and other assessments remain in place and the exam timetable is currently scheduled to run from 27 April until 4 June.

An SQA spokesman said: “We know that learners, parents, schools and colleges will be concerned about the possible impact of the coronavirus on the national qualifications 2020 examinations timetable.

“The SQA is continuing to monitor the situation, in close contact with the Scottish government and other regulators and awarding bodies across the UK.

“At present there is no change to the published national qualifications examination timetable. Our advice therefore is to continue to prepare as normal.”

School closure decision

There have now been 60 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Scotland.

From Friday people with minor symptoms – such as a cough or fever – will be advised to self-isolate for seven days.

Gatherings of more than 500 people should also be cancelled from next week to free up emergency services, the first minister said.

On the subject of potential disruption to education, Ms Sturgeon said it was “not the advice right now that schools close”.

She said that is schools were shut, young people could still gather informally, potentially spreading the virus, and the childcare pressures would mean fewer key workers being able to attend work.

She added that if the advice was to close schools, it would not take a matter of weeks – but could potentially last “until the peak of infection” in the summer months.

FOLLOW LIVE: Latest coronavirus updates

The SQA said that schools and colleges should be gathering evidence on candidate performance to “support any consideration” of the exceptional circumstances protocol.

This process supports people who cannot attend exams or whose performance is affected by scenarios outwith their control.

This evidence “should inform estimated grades, as it should every year”, the SQA said.

A spokesman added: “We fully recognise that this is an evolving situation and, as you would expect, we are working through a range of scenarios. Our overriding priority, drawing on the latest guidance, is to deliver a safe and secure examination timetable with minimal disruption, which is fair to learners.

“Markers and invigilators play a critical role in the delivery of our qualifications. We are reviewing our marking and invigilation processes and will issue further communication to schools and colleges shortly.

“We are also strongly encouraging all candidates to sign up to MySQA, our online and text service, as a direct way to receive their results.

“We will continue to review the latest evidence and will communicate further updates as necessary. “

BBC News

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