Colleges and training providers can claim back the cost of extra invigilators for this term’s vocational and technical qualification (VTQ) exams, the government has said.
An extension to the Department for Education’s exam support service (ESS) has been announced to support colleges, schools and training providers that have been hit particularly hard by staff absences during exam time.
The scheme was introduced last year but initially just to allow centres to claim back some of the costs of running exams in the autumn for students who opted to resit rather than accept their teacher assessed grades.
This included some reprieve for autumn exam fees, training costs for new invigilators and extra venues.
Some of these costs can still be claimed, such as for VTQ exams taking place this term which are still considered resits for students that received a teacher assessed grade in 2021.
The DfE has now said that they will extend the scheme to cover centres running exams and assessments for VTQs from this month until the end of March, even if they are not part of last year’s autumn series.
Around 300,000 students will be sitting exams that could be eligible under this extension.
However, the extended scheme will only cover the costs of additional invigilators that have been recruited by centres due to staff absence.
DfE staffing attendance data estimated that one in 25 FE college teachers and leaders were off on January 6 because of Covid. Despite this, no major disruption has been reported, with colleges telling FE Week that staffing reallocations and emergency planning was so far proving effective.
To access the exam support service, DfE guidance sets out that centres should “retain evidence of additional invigilation costs” and will expect to see evidence of why extra invigilators were needed.