Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Snow hit one in 20 exam schools

Exam room
Most exams went ahead despite the bad weather

Exams in one in 20 UK schools were cancelled because of the recent snow, a snapshot survey suggests.

Two-thirds of those who responded to a survey for the Examination Officers' Association said they battled through snow to prepare and run exams.

One in five invigilators said they did not make it to the exam room, and so other school staff had to help out.

Although many schools and colleges closed in the first week of term, eight out of 10 opened in the second.

Of the 300 members who responded to the online poll for the association, 92% were running GCSEs, 90% were running A-levels and 77% were running other exams such as Diplomas and functional skills exams.

Hotel stays

Chief executive of the Examination Officers' Association .Andrew Harland said: "The survey has demonstrated the levels of dedication and commitment of exam office staff in ensuring that the exams have gone ahead on schedule.

"Many of the staff in the survey said that they had prepared contingency plans in the event of their absence on exam days.

There were over 100 students taking an exam in the morning and 190 in the afternoon. I was worried and under pressure
Karen Boothman, Highdown School

"However, it has been crucial that they were there in their exam centres on the days leading up to the exams as well."

One member of staff said that she had stayed overnight in a camper van parked at her school in order to be there for the exams. Another exam team had stayed overnight in a hotel.

Mr Harland said exam boards were right not to cancel the examinations as this would have created greater problems.

Exams regulator Ofqual said that despite the disruption, the vast majority of centres had been able to go ahead with exams, or make alternative arrangements for their candidates.

Further information on the scale of centre closures will not be available until Wednesday 10 February 10 - a week after the exam series finishes.

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES Schools need a level playing field | Melissa Benn - 24 hrs ago
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