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Assessment variation request

Centres can submit an assessment variation if, for any assessment detailed in our External Assessment Timetable, they wish to request approval to:

  • Vary the published assessment date
  • Vary the published assessment time (beyond the permitted 30 minutes)
  • Change (or extend) the assessment site from your current approved location.

External Assessment Timetable

Please refer to our Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment for guidance on examples for which we typically will/will not accept a variation. As a guide, alternative dates/times will not be considered for events such as school functions or field trips, work experience, or personal arrangements of the learner such as holidays or weddings. Variations which potentially compromise the integrity and security of the external assessment will also not be approved.

If candidates are taking two or more assessments timetabled for the same session and the total time is more than three hours including approved extra time allowances and/or supervised rest breaks, the centre may conduct one assessment in a later or earlier session within the same day. There is no need to complete any paperwork for this. Please refer to section 7.4 of the Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment.

Assessment location variation

In line with updates to our regulations in summer 2020, and JCQ guidance, we require that any centre distributing papers to multiple assessment locations submit an assessment variation request.

If centres are requesting the redistribution of assessment papers to additional sites, they are responsible for, and must organise, the secure transportation of assessment materials to these sites using one of the following delivery methods:

  • Royal Mail Special Delivery
  • Secure courier, tracked with a guarantee of service delivery
  • By hand or transportation by centre staff directly to the invigilator or assessment location.

If transported by a centre, assessment materials must be transported in lockable storage/case and must not be left unattended.

Variation request due to half-term holiday

We carefully plan all our external assessments in our timetable to avoid holidays wherever possible, however there are times when due to variations in half term holidays across the country this is not possible for some of our windowed assessments.

Therefore, there may be times when a centre may wish to submit an assessment variation request where a shorter assessment window may overlap a half-term holiday, e.g. HSED2 and DCE2. On these occasions, the centre must submit an assessment variation request, and also complete the below External Assessment Planning Document and send it to [email protected]

External Assessment Planning Document


Requests should be received no later than 20 working days prior to the external assessment (set date/time) or the start of the assessment window.

Our Assessment Delivery Team will get back to you with a response within 5 working days. If the request is received later than 20 working days, then we reserve the right to reject the request.

Where variations may be required due to Covid19, centres should continue to submit requests as soon as known, however we will consider requests submitted after the above timescales where necessary.

Where variations are approved, external assessments must continue to be delivered in accordance with the Regulations for the Conduct of External Assessment.

Please complete the form below:

Assessment variation request

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