Bomb scares

Some students taking their GCSE and AS level exams have been affected by bomb scares. Awarding bodies have in place robust contingency measures to deal with these situations and to ensure students are not disadvantaged or advantaged by the disruption.  Schools and colleges affected by a bomb scare, or similar incidences, should refer to the published guidance (copied below) and if they have any questions speak to the relevant awarding body.

All centres are expected to have an emergency evacuation procedure which must be available for inspection purposes.  The procedure for the emergency evacuation of the examination room is set out in Section 18 of the JCQ publication Instructions for conducting examinations (as below).

The invigilator must take the following action in an emergency such as a fire alarm or a bomb alert.

  • Stop the candidates from writing.
  • Collect the attendance register (in order to ensure all candidates are present) and evacuate the examination room in line with the instructions given by the appropriate authority.
  • Advise candidates to leave all question papers and scripts in the examination room.
  • Candidates should leave the room in silence.
  • 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.
  • Make a note of the time of the interruption and how long it lasted.
  • Allow the candidates the full working time set for the examination.
  • 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.
  • Make a full report of the incident and of the action taken, and send to the relevant awarding body.

Advice: In dealing with emergencies you must be aware of your centre’s policy and the expectations of your Local Authority, where appropriate.

You must have a written centre policy for dealing with an emergency evacuation of the examination room, which will be subject to inspection by the JCQ Centre Inspection Service.

Advice: You may wish to laminate your emergency evacuation procedure and display this in the examination room, using coloured paper to draw attention to it.

Advice: A suggested emergency evacuation procedure for centres to use may be found on the JCQ website -

Centres should submit an application for special consideration in the usual way and should seek further advice and guidance from the relevant awarding body.