Concerns over JCQ announcements on accommodation

The following issue has been raised by numerous centres across the country referring to the JCQ publication - Instructions for conducting examinations for the academic year 2018/19 over changes in the use of accommodation.

The following bone of contention is over the statement in paragraph 11.1 p17 (JCQ) which states that – “Centres must ensure appropriate accommodation exists to support the size of the cohorts they are teaching. An alternative site arrangement cannot be used on account of the centre not having any appropriate accommodation at all at its registered address to support the candidates being taught”.


This announcement is well beyond the remit of the JCQ statements made last year in the same document on paragraph 5.3 p14 (JCQ), which stated that “Alternative site arrangements have been extended to centres which operate as part of a consortium, whether at Borough/County level or through a Multi-Academy Trust. The centre is able to transport question papers and other examination material in a secure manner to another local centre within 90 minutes of the published starting time for the examination”.


Everyone within the education and exam sector is fully aware of the need to support and manage effective processes to make sure the exam system is not compromised. However, the question being asked here - what is the JCQ’s role in directing teaching and learning activity within centres and as many have pointed out exams are only part of any educational establishment’s activity.


Teaching activity often has to continue alongside any exams delivery process because many centres have a limited accommodation available and often need to seek alternative accommodation to give their learners an appropriate and effective experience which will allows them to demonstrate their full potential.


Therefore, many centres do call into question the suggestion that such requests for additional accommodation as being considered “rare and exceptional” paragraph 11.3, p17 (JCQ) does not match with the ‘normal way of working’ being experienced in many centres across the country in both the state and independent sector.


The iEOA will be writing to the JCQ about this issue and will seek appropriate advice on how best to deal with these statements in their ICE publication 2018/19 so learners in centres are not compromised and centre staff can get on with delivering an effective exam system.


For your feedback – email ieoa.office@examofficers.org.uk title – ‘JCQ  accommodation issue’