Will Brexit delay A levels?
With the first deadline of the Brexit deadline just two days away on March the 12th, there is worrying news for A level students and university applicants. The Times Education Supplement have been informed by a source that A level exams and GCSEs could be disrupted simply because of the sudden increase in traffic congestion in Kent.
A levels and GCSEs are of course national exams, everyone has to sit the same exam at the same time to ensure fairness. Papers cannot be taken at a later time or date unless in exceptional circumstances and the students usually have to live under controlled conditions to prevent cheating. If Brexit causes massive travel disruption in the south east of the UK then there is the risk that any exams affected would be delayed for the whole country
A level Back up Plans
In the worst case scenario, an unexpected increase in traffic could cause a significant minority of students to not be able to reach the venue for their exam, i.e. their school. A last minute cancellation would of course have an impact on future revision plans and exam performance.
Exam boards are now considering ‘alternative site testing’ to try and prevent any potential delays. If a select few schools were impacted by Brexit traffic then instead of causing problems nationwide, exam boards could reroute students to their nearest accessible centre.
A No Deal Brexit
For any backup plan to work there needs to be tight communication between families, exam boards and schools. Parents would need to be aware and available to take their children to any required new venue, potentially only notified on the morning of the exam. Exam boards are having to think ahead with regards to their own logistics and printing.
Even though we live in the internet age, exam papers are sealed confidential material until exam day. Resources have to be realigned so that printing happens in the UK in the case of international freight slowing down due to Brexit. Sources have said that there are regional offices being set up to act as printing and distribution centres in the case of any delays.
Confidence in A level Exam Boards
Any disturbance to the usual exam period process is stressful for students and teachers alike. While Brexit still hangs in uncertainty some reassurance can be found in the fact that there is ongoing discussion and plans from the exam boards. Sources say they are confident that despite the risks, everyone involved will be able to adapt to the situation so that A level and GCSEs can proceed as planned.
As one spokesperson reported:
“There’s likely to be a lot of hysteria around it. It’s probably going to be important to get the comms out and just make sure it’s crystal clear and we can reassure people so that especially we don’t have kids panicking.”
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation said:
“We are working closely with exam boards to ensure the summer series runs smoothly, and that any potential impacts of the UK’s planned departure from the EU are managed appropriately.”
Check their latest exam disruption guidance on their website.