As you will be aware, the JCQ instructions for conducting examinations booklet (JCQ ICE) has been updated for 2018/19. This year it's been heavily edited to reduce duplication and clarify regulations, so please read it carefully as some regulations are not where they were before.
As a centre delivering CPC examinations, we would like to draw your attention to and clarify the following changes and/or sections which directly affect you.
This states centres must have room in their secure storage to hold three weeks worth of question papers - this isn't applicable to CPC centres though, as CPC exams are only held on one day. However, the secure storage must be big enough for all of those papers.
In respect of the requirements for the secure room - for CPC centres we do allow the room/cupboard in which the secure storage is located to be used for other purposes and to house other items or equipment. However, this must not compromise the security of the examination materials.
We require walls, ceiling and floor to be of strong, solid construction. In their reports our inspectors will provide details of the evidence they have seen to assure us the room used is “of strong, solid construction” and meets our security requirements. The requirement to reinforce walls with metal if they aren't brick constructed is not usually enforced.
The table on page 5 mentions small lockable boxes similar to the ones often found in hotel rooms, and says they aren't suitable. However, for CPC exams, if the small safe is made non-portable and secure, we will accept it.
The table on page 6 references a spare set of keys, and says the keys cannot be kept anywhere they might be accessed by members of staff who aren't involved in administering exams. This includes a cabinet or a safe. Key holder access is a vital part in keeping examination material secure and this instruction must be followed.
If there are any circumstances which affect your security arrangements you must contact OCR immediately.
This point states centres can open secure packages if exams are taking place in a number of rooms or sites. The material for CPC exams is packed separately for each exam venue though, so there shouldn't be any need for centres to open packages early. The secure packages should only be opened in the exam room, 10 minutes before the scheduled start time.
We do allow alternative sites to be used for CPC exams, but they must have been inspected and approved by OCR.
On the day of an examination, centres can conduct training etc in the exam room, before or between exams. However, time must be provided for the room to be prepared for the exam, during which candidates must leave the room and then return under exam conditions.
The points above are in addition to the exceptions listed in the Instructions to invigilators document and on our website, under 'CPC-specific regulations'. We will update these to include the latest additions.
We would also like to draw your attention to the requirement for the head of centre to contact us if they wish to enter any members of staff or family members of centre staff for a CPC exam at their centre. To avoid any conflict of interest or potential security issues it is important that the head of centre considers making arrangements for members of staff and/or their family members to sit the exams at another CPC centre.
If this is not possible they must contact OCR before they make exam entries at their own centre. Please refer to section 5.3(d) of the JCQ General Regulations for Approved Centres and section12.3(c) of the JCQ ICE regarding this regulation.
We appreciate the JCQ ICE focuses on arrangements for schools and colleges and we are considering the best options regarding the issues this causes for CPC centres. If you have any queries please contact the Compliance Team by phoning the Customer Contact Centre on 02476 851509 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.