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 Post subject: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:06 pm
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We've received a letter from the school regarding contingency planning for the GCSE exams.

Basically it says that the awarding bodies have agreed a contingency period up to 26th June to allow for any major disruptions to the exam system.

DS's last GCSE is scheduled for 14th June and we had been planning to go away on holiday immediately afterwards, looking forward to the fact that for once we could avoid the peak summer holiday period, and he could then be back in time for his prom and 6th form induction at the start of July.

Not sure now what we should do? Anyone else in a similar situation?

(we haven't actually booked a holiday yet, other than time off work)


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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:47 pm 
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Our school sent this date out before Christmas so we have known not to arrange anything till after then. The contingency has always been there but this year it has been made much more public - possibly there is concerns about civil unrest (Brexit), terrorism or something like Prince Phillip (who is getting much older) passing on - meaning that the exam boards have decided to advertise it more widely. Who knows but they are (I've worked in exams for about 10 years and never known them press it so much!)

Chances are it won't be used but, if it is, being away on holiday will not be an acceptable excuse. The only think I can suggest is, if your work are flexible, wait until the exams are finished and go for a last minute thing but if you have "extra" exams, don't take the leave. Not ideal but possibly better than missing an exam!


Last edited by kenyancowgirl on Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:00 pm 
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Thanks for the reply.

Prince Phillip dying though? Would they really postpone a GCSE exam for that?! :shock: (Or even the Queen for that matter?). And don't even get me started on civil unrest due to Brexit! As if that hasn't caused enough chaos already!

What happens if a pupil is sick though during GCSEs? Do they get to take them during the contingency period after everyone else?

As I said we've not actually booked a holiday yet, but I'm guessing there are thousands of other families who have once the exam dates came out unaware of this contingency thing?


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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Yes, I knew about it because I saw it on here. The school haven't told us.
The usual rules would apply for sickness/extenuating circumstances,I would have thought.
AQA Special Consideration. Other boards are the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:46 pm 
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I can understand the reasoning behind it (I just read somewhere that the Grenfell Tower disaster last year caused the exam boards to give it more prominence)

What annoys me though is that the school are only letting us know now with a couple of months to go, when many people will have already booked their hols.

Why didn't they tell us about this at the same time they issued us with the exam dates as surely it would have been known then?


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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
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Surferfish wrote:
Thanks for the reply.

Prince Phillip dying though? Would they really postpone a GCSE exam for that?! :shock: (Or even the Queen for that matter?). And don't even get me started on civil unrest due to Brexit! As if that hasn't caused enough chaos already!

What happens if a pupil is sick though during GCSEs? Do they get to take them during the contingency period after everyone else?

As I said we've not actually booked a holiday yet, but I'm guessing there are thousands of other families who have once the exam dates came out unaware of this contingency thing?


I imagine if a major Royal died, as there would be a State Funeral, a) it would either be a day off as an official day of mourning or b) London itself would be gridlocked with many roads shut off completely, causing utter chaos. You cannot have a child/children taking exams after everyone else (except in the case of a clash where they would be taken within a day and under supervision throughout) so on a day such as a royal dying, I suspect the exam would be suspended nationally and moved into the contingency period.

In answer to your sick pupil question, the answer is no - they wouldn't take them. If they had already sat enough of the exams for that subject as per the link you have been given, a grade could be estimated for them. If not there is sometimes the opportunity for a school to provide evidence to the exam board of their predicted grade (this uses things like alis, IST, mock results etc) and requires the school to also provide evidence of other people in the cohort - that way the exam board can identify if the predicitions are about right! Very complicated - best thing is not to be so sick that you miss exams!!!

And, yes, your school will have known about it when the exam timetable was issued by the board.....


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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:04 pm 
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We were informed a few months ago by the school about the contingency day. I honestly think that very few things would mean it would be used though. I would be extremely unhappy if an exam date was changed just because the Queen or Prince Philip died.
I wonder if anyone knows if it's been used previously?


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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:21 pm 
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loobylou wrote:
We were informed a few months ago by the school about the contingency day. I honestly think that very few things would mean it would be used though. I would be extremely unhappy if an exam date was changed just because the Queen or Prince Philip died.
I wonder if anyone knows if it's been used previously?


I'm not saying I'd be happy about it but if I was a parent living in London and my child was put under additional stress trying to get to a school to sit a GCSE/A level exam, in extraordinary circumstances, where all the roads were shut, extra security was on public transport and about 100000 extra people were descending on the capital to pay their respects, I'd like to think that there would be some understanding from parents generally.

I have done the exams for the last 10 years and it has not been used up to now but every exams officer I know has remarked on how much the boards have pushed it this year, for quite a few months, so they all seem heightened to it, more than ever before.


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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:46 pm 
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Location: High Wycombe
Guest55 posted this date on October 1 2018. Most schools wrote out warning about it then. And she warned again in Nov under the "when do GCSEs finish post".


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 Post subject: Re: Contingency planning
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:24 pm 
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Yes - I've just checked and around October was when our school notified us! I thought it was about a month or so ago - heck, time flies....!!


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