Exams, access and assessments policy

Policy Statement

Learn Devon is committed to ensuring that all examination and assessment practices are conducted fairly and equitably in line with Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and individual awarding body requirements.

It is the responsibility of everyone involved in examination and assessment processes at Learn Devon to read, understand and implement this policy.

Where references are made to JCQ regulations/guidelines, further details can be found at www.jcq.org.uk


This policy applies to all learners of Learn Devon’s seeking assessment and/or examination certification and staff involved in and/or responsible for managing that assessment.

For the purpose of this policy, “Coursework” is defined as any piece of assessed work where the mark contributes to the final grade of a course undertaken at Learn Devon. “Formative Assessment” is defined as any piece of assessed work where the mark does not directly constitute a final grade for examination purposes.


To ensure the planning and management of examinations and assessment is conducted efficiently and in the best interest of candidates with clear guidelines for all staff and learners.

Covid regional / local lockdowns:

Covid-19 and possible local/regional lockdown, Learn Devon will be guided by the examination board regulations and guidance. Action will follow the Exam Contingency plan Exam Contingency Plan

For all paper-based exams, Learn Devon will follow up-to-date guidance from exam boards, and guidance for conducting exams and expectations on examination day will be shared with invigilator and learners 

  1. Exam responsibilities and arrangements

The exams tracking spreadsheets on SharePoint must be used at all times. For each area there are detailed exam entry tracking spreadsheets for each centre and will include exams delivered in external venues.

Bideford, Exmouth, Newton Abbot and Tavistock exam and administration processes – Exam Administration Library

1.1 The Team Managers (Area Managers are Heads of Centre):

  • Have overall responsibility for the service as an exams centre and advise on appeals and re-marks.
  • Are responsible for sharing dates of English and maths exams with the whole service, so that all core staff can make themselves available to support the exam process. (for planned FS dates refer to Exams and Accreditation guide)
  • Investigate and report any incidents of malpractice.

1.2 Senior Customer Support Officers (Exams Officer):

  • Manage the administration of internal exams and external exams and act as Exams Officer for their Centre(s).
  • Advise the Service Management Team, teaching staff, Area Coordinators and Curriculum Coordinators, Learning Support Coordinators, Invigilators (Temp Bank staff or trained LD Staff) and other relevant support staff on annual exams timetables and procedures as set by the various awarding bodies including informing staff of relevant dates.
  • Oversee the production and distribution, to all Centre staff and candidates, of an annual and termly calendar for all exams in which candidates will be involved and communicate regularly with staff concerning imminent deadlines and events. Use JCQ website and outlook invitations where applicable.
  • Ensure that candidates and, where appropriate, parents/carers are informed of and understand those aspects of the exams timetable that will affect them.
  • Check with teaching staff that the necessary coursework is completed on time and in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
  • Provide and confirm data on “intention to enter” and “estimated entries” where required in line with awarding body deadlines.
  • Maintain systems and processes to support the timely entry of candidates for their exams.
  • Receive, check and store securely all exam papers and completed scripts and ensure that scripts are dispatched as per the JCQ guidelines.
  • Identify and manage exam timetable clashes.
  • Account for income and expenditure relating to all exam costs/charges via P2P.
  • Ensure candidates’ coursework marks are submitted, and any other material required by the appropriate awarding bodies correctly and on schedule.
  • Track, dispatch, and store returned coursework and arrange for dissemination of exam results and certificates to candidates and forward, in consultation with the Area Manager, any postal results service requests.
  • Book invigilators on a termly basis via Temp Bank Services or internal trained staff.
  • Facilitate yearly training/update meetings for invigilators as directed by Area Managers.
  • Inform invigilators about type of exam and any access arrangements. Training and recruitment of Invigilators on booking the invigilator.
  • Arrange for the dispatch of distance learners’ results and certificates.
  • Ensure candidates have received their statement of entries at least one month in advance except for GCSEs which must be prior to final entry date (mid-February) in order to avoid unnecessary late fees being incurred.
  • Where applicable provide new/current Covid guidelines from examination boards for guidance on local/regional lockdown and actions outlined in the exam contingency plan.

1.3 Curriculum Coordinators are responsible for (in liaison with Area Coordinators and Tutors):

  • Advising all necessary staff of exams and assessment requirements relating to curriculum confirmed awarding bodies.
  • Accurate completion of entry and all other mark sheets and adherence to deadlines as set by the Senior Customer Support Officers/ awarding bodies.
  • Confirming and advising Exam Officers of exams schedules set by awarding bodies where applicable.
  • Accurate completion of coursework and declaration sheets.
  • Decisions on post-results procedures in liaison with tutors including re-sits.
  • Supporting the training of Invigilators and Internal Quality Assurance.

1.4 Tutors are responsible for:

  • Preparing learners and supplying information on entries and coursework as required by the Senior Customer Support Officers.
  • Identifying if allocated room is unsuitable – particularly in outreach venues in a timely manner so alternatives can be found.
  • Ensuring that all evidence requested for access arrangements by the LSCo is submitted according to the deadlines set by JCQ and awarding bodies.
  • Informing LSCo of any candidate identified as possibly requiring special or access arrangements before exam entries are made and in line with JCQ and awarding body guidelines.
  • Passing on information about entries for portfolio qualifications to the SCSO in line with awarding body requirements.
  • Ensuring any learner concerns on sitting exams is discussed with area LSCO and/or Exams officer for extra support where applicable.

1.5 Learning Support Coordinators, working with Tutors, cover the role of special educational needs coordinator (SENDCo) and are responsible for:

  • Identification and testing of candidates’ requirements for access arrangements at least 8 weeks prior to exams and notifying the Senior Customer Support Officers in good time so they are able to put in place exam day arrangements.
  • Process any necessary applications in order to gain approval (if required).
  • Make applications for special consideration following the regulations in the JCQ publication – ‘A guide to the special consideration process’ with support from the SCSO liaising with the Senior Customer Support Officers and Tutor to provide clear information and evidence is in place for the access arrangements required by candidates in exams rooms, for example: a reader, scribe or additional time.  

1.6 Access arrangements for use of laptops will form part of the access arrangements and reasonable adjustments evidence produced by Learning Support Coordinators, working with Tutors, cover the role of special educational needs coordinator (SENDCo) and are responsible for:

Confirmation of use of a word processor reflects the candidate’s normal way of working within the centre for example, where the curriculum is delivered electronically, and the centre provides word processors to all candidates.

For GCSE On-line delivery, exams are paper based and expectation is for learners to take written exams unless access arrangements have be submitted.

This information should be shared with learners on the CIS and followed up on entry.

  • Candidates may benefit from the use of a word processor for examination, for example,
  • a learning difficulty which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to write legibly;
    a medical condition;
  • a physical disability;
  • a sensory impairment;
  • planning and organisational problems when writing by hand;
  • poor handwriting. The centre’s senior leadership team statement for inspection purposes which details the criteria the centre uses to award and allocate word processors for examinations Learn Devon Use of Laptop in Exam policy.docx

Regulations and Guidance – JCQ Joint Council for Qualifications

A guide to the special consideration process – General and Vocational qualifications www.jcq.org.uk

1.7 Invigilators are responsible for:

  • Following the guidelines in the JCQ publication ‘Instructions for the conduct of examinations’ and ensuring the smooth running of exams. ICE23-24-Sept23revision_FINAL.pdf
  • Where applicable updated Covid regulations are adhered to during the face-to-face exam sessions, these will be shared by each area SCSO before exam session takes place (A copy will be available for all staff and learners conducting/taking exams).
  • Assisting the Senior Customer Support Officers in the efficient running of exams according to JCQ regulations.
  • Collection of exam papers and other material from the exams officer before the start of the exam.
  • Collection of all exam papers in the correct order at the end of the exam and ensuring their return to the exams officer.
  • Recording any untoward incidents.
  • Communicating with exams officer during exams if there is problem.
  • Confirming their availability on a termly basis.
  • Attending a training session at least annually in line with JCQ regulations.
  • Maintaining knowledge of Learn Devon processes by accessing newsletters and staff updates sent via Learn Devon email.

1.8 Area Co-ordinators are responsible for

  • Checking and following up that portfolios and assessments are completed in a timely manner in liaison with the SCSO and CCO.
  • Supporting tutors with timely entry information
  • Ensuring tutors are supplied with up to date information and have a clear understanding of the exam process and learners are supported.

1.9 All core staff are responsible for

  • Ensuring that they are available to support maths and English GCSE exams including invigilating (trained staff only) as necessary.

1.10 Candidates are responsible for:

  • Checking their statements of entry and ensuring personal details are correct and that they have been registered for the correct exam subject and level.
  • Confirmation and signing of entries.
  • Ensuring that they are aware of the exam dates.
  • Understanding coursework regulations and signing a declaration that authenticates the coursework as their own.
  • Ensuring they conduct themselves in all exams according to JCQ regulations.
  • Declaring any concerns or requests for Exam support
  1. Qualifications offered
  • The qualifications offered by Learn Devon are decided by the Curriculum Coordinators. Curriculum Catalogue
  • The subjects offered for these qualifications in any academic year may be found in Learn Devon’s published programme for that year or within the Curriculum plans.
  • Decisions, where appropriate, on whether a candidate should be entered for a particular subject will be taken by the Tutor in consultation with the Curriculum Coordinator.
  1. Exam timetables
  • SCSO with support from the Curriculum lead diarise the exam schedules.
  • Once confirmed, the Senior Customer Support Officers will circulate the exam timetables for internal and external exams at a specified date before each series begins.
  1. Entries, entry details and late entries
  • Candidates or parents/carers can request a subject entry, change of level or withdrawal. If there is a fee, that fee will be passed on to the candidate.
  • Entry deadlines are circulated to staff via email.
  • Tutors will provide estimated entry information to the exams officer to meet JCQ and awarding body deadlines.
  • The Senior Customer Support Officer will send to each candidate a Statement of Entry detailing the exam times, dates, required equipment, rules and regulations for checking details are correct and information
  • Entries and amendments made after an awarding organisation’s deadline (for example: late) require the authorisation, of the budget holder (Area Manager or Quality and Performance Manager)
    • GCSE re-sits/retakes are allowed.
    • Functional skills re-sits/retakes are allowed.
    • Re-sit decisions are made by Curriculum Coordinators in in consultation with Tutors.
  1. Exam fees

Learners enrolled on a Learn Devon programme of Learning

Learners enrolled with Learn Devon will not be charged for changes of tier, withdrawals made by the proper procedures or alterations arising from administrative processes provided these are made within the time allowed by the awarding bodies.

In the following instances Fee reimbursements are sought from learners enrolled with Learn Devon as a centre to cover the awarding body costs:

  • if they fail to sit an exam
  • if they do not meet the necessary coursework requirements without medical evidence or evidence of other mitigating circumstances
  • costs of re-sits. 
  • The Senior Customer Support team will publish the deadline for actions well in advance for each exam series.
  • GCSE entry exam fees are paid by Learn Devon
  • Functional skills entry exam fees are paid by Learn Devon
  • Late entry or amendment fees are paid by the Centre, department or candidate depending on circumstances.
  1. Equality Legislation
  • Exam Centre staff must ensure that they meet the requirements of any equality legislation.
  • The Centre will comply with the legislation, including making reasonable adjustments to the service that that they provide to candidates in accordance with requirements defined by the legislation, awarding bodies, and JCQ. This is the responsibility of the Senior Customer Support Officers and all Learn Devon staff.
  1. Reasonable adjustments
  • Access arrangements are agreed before any exam or assessment and give learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities necessary provision to create an equal environment without affecting the integrity of the assessment.
  • The Learning Support Coordinators and Tutors will work in partnership and communicate about learners with special educational needs and any special arrangements that individual candidates will need during the course and in any assessments/exams.
  • A candidate’s access arrangements requirement is determined by the Learning Support Coordinators and
  • Ensuring there is appropriate evidence for a candidate’s access arrangement is the responsibility of Learning Support Coordinators and Tutors.
  • Submitting completed access arrangement applications to the awarding bodies is the responsibility of the Learning Support Coordinators along with a completed copy of the data sharing document from JCQ.
  • Rooming for access arrangement candidates will be arranged by the Senior Customer Support Officers.
  • Invigilation and support for access arrangement candidates, as defined in the JCQ access arrangements regulations, will be organised by the Senior Customer Support Officers.
  1. Contingency planning
  • Contingency planning for exams administration is the responsibility of the Senior Customer Support Officers.
  • Contingency plans are available via SharePoint and are in line with the guidance provided by Ofqual, JCQ and awarding organisations. Useful links; Curriculum Catalogue

23-24 Exam Contingency Plan

  1. Private candidates
  • Learn Devon does not offer exam facilities to private candidates.
  1. Managing invigilators
  • LD staff will be trained to support invigilation, for any temp bank invigilators to be used this must be agreed with Area managers. 
  • Securing the necessary Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) clearance for new invigilators is the responsibility of Temp solutions following agreed recruitment procedures.
  • Invigilators’ rates of pay are set by DCC
  • Invigilators are trained through e-training registration Invigilator Training Tracker
  • Invigilators are timetabled and briefed by the SCSO.
  • When invigilating and assessing young people aged 16-18 an additional member of staff will also be present on the rare occasions a single child or young person is taking an exam. See Safeguarding and Prevent Duty Policy; Safeguarding and Prevent Duty Guidance for staff, and Provision for Young People Policy.
  • When a staff member has been appointed to invigilate, read/scribe and/or assessing a learner they have been working with an additional member of staff/invigilator will be required. 
  1. Malpractice, Maladministration, and Plagiarism
  • Guidance from the Awarding Organisations will be followed in investigating any suspicion of malpractice/maladministration or plagiarism
  • Awarding Organisations will be notified in accordance with the ICE regulations.
  • The Area Managers in consultation with the Quality and Performance Manager are responsible for investigating suspected malpractice, maladministration or plagiarism.
  1. Exam days
  • The Senior Customer Support Officers will book all exam rooms after liaison with other users and make the question papers, other exam stationery and materials available for the invigilator.
  • Site management staff are responsible for setting up the allocated rooms and will be advised of requirements in advance. In the absence of site management staff this will be responsibility of customer service team and all other Learn Devon staff.
  • The Invigilators will start and finish all exams in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
  • Subject staff / tutors may be present at the start of the exam to assist with identification of candidates. Any staff present must be in accordance with the rules defined by JCQ concerning who is allowed in the exam room and what they can do.
  • In practical exams, subject teachers tutor availability will be in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
  • Exam papers must not be read by subject teachers or removed from the exam room before the end of a session. Papers can be distributed to Curriculum Coordinators/tutors in accordance with awarding bodies’ recommendations
  • After an exam, the Senior Customer Support Officers will arrange for the safe dispatch of completed and unused examination scripts to awarding bodies, working in conjunction with Invigilators.
  1. Candidates
  • The Senior Customer Support Officers will provide written information to candidates in advance of each exam series. A formal briefing session for candidates may be given by the Tutors.
  • The Centre’s published rules on acceptable dress and behaviour apply at all times. Candidates’ personal belongings remain their own responsibility and the Centre accepts no liability for their loss or damage.
  • In an exam room candidates must not have access to items other than those clearly allowed in the instructions on the question paper, the stationery list, or the specification for that subject. This is particularly true of mobile phones and other electronic communication or storage devices with text or digital facilities. Any prohibited items must not be taken into an exam room.
  • A clear bottle of water may be brought into exam room. Any candidate requiring food to be available to them must inform Centre in advance and also Invigilator immediately prior to the exam. This must not be something that can disturb other candidates.
  • Disruptive candidates are dealt with in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
  • Candidates maybe expected to stay for the full exam time at the discretion of the Invigilator.
  • GCSE candidates must be supervised for at least an hour after published start time.

Note: candidates who leave an exam room must be accompanied by an appropriate member of staff at all times. The Invigilator and/or exams officer is responsible for handling late or absent candidates on exam day.

  1. Clash candidates
  • The Senior Customer Support Officers will be responsible as necessary for supervising escorts, identifying a secure venue and arranging overnight stays.
  1. Special consideration
  • Should a candidate be unable to attend an exam because of illness, suffer bereavement or other trauma, be ill or otherwise disadvantaged or disturbed during an exam, then it is the candidate’s responsibility to alert the Centre’s Senior Customer Support Officer to that effect.
  • The candidate must support any special consideration claim with appropriate evidence within 7 working days of the exam.
  • The Senior Customer Support Officers will make a special consideration application to the relevant awarding body within 10 working days of the exam.
  1. Assessments
  • It is the duty of Curriculum Coordinators to ensure that all internal assessments are ready for dispatch at the correct time. The Senior Customer Support Officers will assist by keeping a record of each dispatch, including the recipient details and the date and time sent.
  • For Ascentis Senior Customer Support Officers will ensure there is no conflict of interest as outlined in Ascentis guidance. If a conflict has been identified on the Conflict of Interest Declaration Form and sent to Ascentis
  1. Results
  • Candidates will receive individual results slips on results days:***
  • in person at the centre
  • by post to their home address
  • collected on behalf of a candidate by third parties, provided they have written authority from the candidate to do so and bring suitable identification with them that confirms who they are.
  • The results slip will be in the form of an awarding body produced document.
  • Arrangements for the Centre to be open on results days are made by the Area Managers.
  • The provision of the necessary staff on results days is the responsibility of the Area Managers.

***All distribution and enquiries of results will follow guidance provided by Examination Boards relating any local or regional lockdowns, following service guidance with all staff and learners informed in advance.

  1. Complaints and Appeals
  • Learners are provided with learner information at the start of course explaining methods to complain
  • Learners are informed of routes to appeal in writing with their information about exams. SCSO responsible for ensuring that this reflects up to date awarding organisation guidance.
  1. Enquiries about Results (EAR)
  • EARs may be requested by Centre staff following the release of results. A request for a re-mark or clerical check requires the written consent of the candidate, a request for a re-moderation of internally assessed work may be submitted without the consent of the group of candidates.
  • The cost of EARs will be paid by the candidate.
  • All processing of EARs will be the responsibility of the SCSO, following the JCQ guidance.
  1. Access to Scripts (ATS)
  • After the release of results, candidates may ask subject staff to request the return of written exam papers before the awarding body deadline.
  • Centre staff may also request scripts for investigation or for teaching purposes. For the latter, the consent of candidates must be obtained.
  • An EAR cannot be applied for once an original script has been returned.
  • Processing of requests for ATS will be the responsibility of SCSO.
  1. Certificates
  • Candidates will receive their certificates by post to their home address.
  • The Centre retains certificates for one year if they are returned as undelivered.
  1. A new certificate will not be issued by an awarding organisation. A transcript of results may be issued if a candidate agrees to pay the costs incurred.

Useful links:


Updated September 2023