Unforeseen circumstances on exam day

Unforeseen circumstances such as severe weather, major travel disruption or public incidents may impact schools/colleges and students.

Where possible, all exams will go ahead as planned and if schools and colleges can open then students should sit their exams as normal.

Special consideration

When students are disadvantaged during their exams due to unforeseen personal circumstances such as illness, injury or bereavement, we can sometimes make mark adjustments as part of a process called special consideration. Find out more about special consideration and when it can be applied.

Alternative arrangements

If your students are unable to get into school or college due to travel problems, or the school or college is closed, you may wish to see if another suitable venue is available.

We may be able to arrange for exams to be centralised. In such cases, please ensure that completed papers:

  • include the original centre number
  • include the student (candidate) number
  • are dispatched to the examiner allocated to the school/college that made the entry, using the Parcelforce label provided.

Alternatively, students can sit exams in the next available series. If this is the last opportunity to sit the exam (eg a final re-sit for an outgoing specification), please apply for special consideration.

Withdrawing students

If you choose to withdraw students from an exam due to unforeseen circumstances, please contact our Entries department directly on 0800 197 7162 for advice on credits and more information.

Late arrivals

Ahead of exams, please advise students to allow extra time for their journeys. If they arrive late, please follow the guidance in section 14 of the JCQ instructions for conducting examinations booklet.

If many students arrive late:

  • those already in school/college should be kept in exam conditions
  • late arrivals should sit the exam and you should apply for special consideration via Centre Services
  • the attendance report must include everyone who sat the exam
  • keep the papers secure
  • prevent late arrivals from accessing the paper between the published start time and the time they entered exam conditions.

Please document the circumstances surrounding the exam, including what you have done to:

  • keep the papers secure
  • prevent late arrivals from accessing the paper between the published start time and the time they entered exam conditions.

Delivery and collection of scripts

In some circumstances such as severe weather, delivery and collection of scripts may be delayed or unable to be serviced.

  • Inform your local Parcelforce delivery office if your school/college is closed to avoid unnecessary journeys.
  • If you can't send completed papers on exam day due to early closure or Parcelforce issues, store the script envelope securely and arrange a collection as soon as possible.
  • Please refer to the Parcelforce Worldwide and Department for Education (DfE) websites.

Some preliminary material and early question papers are available from Centre Services.

To find out what is available and when see Preliminary material and early question papers for AQA exams.

If you are still having problems, please call: 0800 197 7162 (or +44 161 696 5995 from outside the UK).