SATs pupils will not receive special consideration for Covid-related problems except in the most extreme scenarios, such as the loss of a family member to the virus within the last year.
The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) today updated its guidance on how schools can apply for special consideration for pupils whose exam performance is hindered by “extremely distressing circumstances”.
Under the guidance, headteachers have a responsibility to ensure that pupils only sit key stage 2 exams if they are; in a fit physical and mental state, working at the standard of the tests and have completed the full programme of study.
The STA informs schools that special consideration does not apply when a pupil “has been affected by illness or other issues related to coronavirus”.
It also does not apply if the pupil is working at the standard of the tests but was not taught the full curriculum or had reduced preparation for the tests. This includes periods of Covid-enforced home-learning.
Difficulties during the school year, such as period of home-learning due to Covid, will also not be considered, the guidance states.
There are only five reasons provided for why a school can apply for special consideration. Covid can only be cited as a reason when it applies to these:
- Death of a family member or close friend within 12 months of tests.
- Pupil, or close family member, diagnosed with a terminal illness in the six months before tests; or if diagnosis was made more than six months ago, the family member is approaching end of life.
- A traumatic incident, or significant change in pupil’s circumstances, at the time of tests or within previous two weeks.
- Pupil or close family member, has suffered a life-changing injury or had life-changing surgery in the six months before tests.
- A traumatic incident occurred in the six months before the tests and there was a related-incident at the time of the tests or within the previous fortnight.
If a pupil is ill on the day of the test, schools are advised to consider making an application for a timetable variation.
This would allow a pupil to take a test at a different time or on a different day.
Guidance for pupils sitting GCSE and A-levels states candidates who are ill at the time of the assessment are eligible for special consideration.