BTEC students seen waiting outside exam hall without social distancing - only for it to be cancelled

Footage obtained by ITV News Central appears to show BTEC students at Leicester College waiting outside their exam hall without being able to stick to coronavirus safety measures this morning (6th Jan).

Lucy Brett-Pitt, who took the video, and is studying Health and Social Care at the college, told ITV Central that students were moved outside after complaining about the lack of social distancing in the college's corridors.

She told us students were then sent a text saying their exam was going ahead, but that all others would be cancelled from tomorrow.

The college's decision follows a last minute government u-turn last night which means it is now up to individual colleges and schools in England to decide if their pupils will go ahead with BTEC exams this week.

Lucy told us some students didn’t see the point of taking just one exam - so some never went back in.

She says the college eventually cancelled that exam as well - meaning it won't count for students that ended up taking it.

In a statement, Leicester College say: "The Principal is conducting an immediate investigation into what happened this morning and apologises for the confusion."

It has been a very difficult environment for everyone this week. No students will be penalised if they did not attend or finish their exam and we will be in touch with them to set out what happens next.

It was clear that many students were feeling uncomfortable coming in for exams...We have comprehensive Covid-19 health and safety measures in place and as soon as we were made aware of the issues this morning staff attended to ensure that social distancing was adhered to.

Leicester College

Meanwhile, in a statement issued this morning, Pearson, the exam board which runs BTECs, said students can postpone their exams, but if that is not possible, they will make sure "no learner is disadvantaged" and any student who cannot take their exams but has "evidence" of performance will be certified.

It comes as a package of support is set to be outlined for young people in England after the decision was made to close schools and colleges under the rules of the new Covid-19 lockdown.

As this summer’s GCSE and A-level exams were cancelled exams regulator Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) say they will work together to consider how to grade pupils in a way that reflects their hard work, the department said.

Ahead of the statement in the Commons, the DfE said it recognises this is “an anxious time for students who have been working hard towards their exams”.

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