Severe Disruption/Evacuation during External Examinations Policy

1. Policy aim
The aim of this policy is to set out the procedure for dealing with severe disruptions and/or evacuation during external examinations. This policy should be read in conjunction with the Examinations Policy.

2. Possible causes

  • Unreasonable noise disruption
  • Fire/bomb/flood alert during an examination

2.1 Unreasonable noise disruption
In the event of a severe disruption in an externally set examination, invigilators are advised to stop the examination, tell the candidates to close their answer books, make a note of the time and summon help (from, for example, the Exams Officer, Director of Studies, Head of Administration, Facilities Manager and Principal) to sort out the problem. Exam room conditions must be maintained.

When the disruption has been resolved the candidates can resume their examination and the time taken to resolve the issue added on at the end of the examinations. The candidates must be supervised at all times and thus the break in the examination can be regarded as ‘a supervised rest break’.

An incident log must be completed with the times of the disruptions noted. The Exams Officer should make the examining bodies aware of the disruption if necessary.

2.2 Fire/bomb/flood alert during an examination
In the event of a fire alarm or bomb alert sounding (or any other emergency situation arising) during an examination, the first priority of the invigilators is to preserve life. The next priority is to ensure the security of the examination.

The invigilator should summon assistance, if there is time and it is appropriate, via the Exams officer who will confirm if immediate evacuation is necessary and the Operations Team who will call the reserve invigilator and notify the Facilities Manager, Head of Administration, Director of Studies and Principal. A decision will be made as to whether a full evacuation is necessary.

If the emergency is over quickly, the candidates should resume the examination. A careful note of the time of resumption must be noted and the full time allocated for the examination given to complete the examination, ignoring the interruption.

An incident log must be completed with the times of the disruptions noted and a special consideration form will be filled in so as not to disadvantage the candidates.

3. Procedure for emergency evacuation from an examination
If it is necessary to evacuate the building, the lead invigilator should then stop the examination taking a note of the time and evacuate the building by row and in silence. The candidates must leave all examination papers, scripts and writing equipment behind, and in accordance with the College emergency evacuation procedures. The candidates should remain supervised and in silence throughout the emergency. Several other members of staff will be needed to help supervise this.

At all times invigilators must act in accordance with section 16 of the Instructions for conducting examination booklet. They should also summon assistance immediately as an emergency arises. Silence should be maintained during the time the candidates are outside the examination room.

Section 16 of Instructions for conducting examination booklet states:
The invigilator must take the following action in an emergency such as a fire alarm or a bomb alert:

  1. Stop the candidates from writing
  2. Collect the attendance register and evacuate the examination room in line with the instructions given by the appropriate authority
  3. Advise candidates to leave all question papers and scripts in the examination room
  4. Candidates should leave the room in silence
  5. Make sure that the candidates are supervised as closely as possible while they are out of the examination room to make sure there is no discussion about the examination
  6. Make a note of the time of the interruption and how long it lasted
  7. Allow the candidates the full working time set for the examination
  8. If there are only a few candidates, consider the possibility of taking the candidates (with question papers and scripts) to another place to finish the examination
  9. Make a full report of the incident and the action taken, and send to the relevant awarding body.
Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2021
Effective date of the policy September 2021
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / students on request
Review date September 2022