Exclusive: Brexit ‘nightmare’ could see GCSEs and A-levels postponed

TES is reporting that pupils might have to sit their GCSEs and A-levels on later dates or at alternative sites in the “nightmare” scenario of a no-deal Brexit causing significant traffic disruption.

Exam board sources have told Tes that in the most extreme scenario of a large number of candidates not being able to sit a paper, “drastic” action could be taken to postpone the sitting across the entire country.

If Britain were to leave without a deal, then it is possible that the resulting disruption could run into the summer exam season, which begins next month.

They both said the Joint Council for Qualifications – the membership body for exam boards that is leading on Brexit planning – had looked at the possibility of delays to cross-Channel lorries at Dover causing traffic jams across Kent.

One of the sources told Tes: “The nightmare scenario you can envisage is if there’s a no-deal Brexit, and you end up with roads in Kent turning into carparks.

The source said that in this scenario, the action taken by exam boards would be tailored to the seriousness of the disruption. At the lower end of the spectrum, boards could “look at changing start times”.

If any of these contingency plans had to be activated, then communication would be key. “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 source also said that exam boards have focused on ensuring their supply networks would hold in the event of a no deal. “The obvious things are printing and distribution – essentially we’re working with our suppliers to make sure there aren’t any risks that can’t be mitigated,” they said.

Read more Exclusive: Brexit ‘nightmare’ could see GCSEs and A-levels postponed

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