Last reviewed on 20 December 2022
Statutory/mandatory for: Maintained schools Academies Free schools Independent schools Sixth-form colleges Further education Pupil referral units Non-maintained special schools

Download and adapt our model exam contingency plan to keep compliant, and see examples of contingency plans from other schools.

Download our model plan

All examination centres must have an examination contingency plan. This is explained on the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) website. To understand requirements for other awarding organisations, you'll need to contact the organisation directly. 

Our model plan is:

  • Designed for you to adapt to suit your school's context
  • Approved by Forbes Solicitors

Example plans

Maintained school

Our Lady's Catholic High School in Lancashire has an exam contingency plan with actions in case of situations including:

  • Absence of exams officer and special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
  • Lack of trained invigilators 
  • IT system failure 


Manchester Academy has an exams policy with a contingency plan for 2021-22. It covers events such as: 

  • Emergency evacuations of the exam room
  • Exams officer absence 
  • Issues around the distribution of exam papers

Further reading: consult the DfE's guidance 

Find out which further guidance the DfE recommends you read when drafting your contingency plan. There's a coronavirus-specific list, as well as a general one.