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Manchester attack: Schools given permission to cancel GCSE exams in wake of arena suicide bombing

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers are due to sit exams this week - some of whom will have been affected by the bombing

Rachael Pells
Education Correspondent
Tuesday 23 May 2017 12:47 BST

UK Schools have been given permission to cancel GCSE and A-level exams following the deadly Manchester terror attack.

A joint statement from all major exam boards said individual schools are “best placed” to decide whether the exams should go ahead.

No students will be “disadvantaged” by the incident, officials said.

“Many students and teachers are likely to have been affected by the tragic events in Manchester last night,” the notice read.

“Students and their parents should seek advice and information from their schools. Our thoughts are with everyone affected.”

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers are undergoing national exams this week, including some young people believed to be among the victims of the Manchester attack.

While no GCSE or A-level exam will be cancelled, exam boards said they will allow schools discretion over whether pupils are made to sit them.

Exams scheduled for Tuesday are to go ahead, since they are already in the “public domain”, and will not be able to be re-arranged, the Joint Council for Qualifications said.

But there are “special consideration” provisions, as would ordinarily apply if a pupil faced a bereavement or was involved in an accident.

These are determined on a case-by-case basis.

There will also be some flexibility on start times given the transportation difficulties caused by the attack.

Manchester attack: What we know so far

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by last night's terrible incident in Manchester,“ says a statement from the Joint Council for Qualifications.

”GCSE and A-level examinations ‎are taking place today across the UK but, understandably, some students, schools and colleges will have been affected by the bombing.

“School leaders are best placed to decide if exams should go ahead and, if they decide they are not, exam boards will make sure that no student is disadvantaged.”

At least 22 people were killed and dozens injured after a lone suicide bomber targeted music fans, including several children, at an Ariana Grande concert.

The first confirmed victim to be named was Georgina Bethany Callander, an 18-year-old student from Whittle-le-Woods in Lancashire.

Described by friends as “a living angel”, Georgina attended Runshaw College in nearby Leyland.

A vigil for all the victims of the attack is to be held in the city’s Albert Square on Tuesday evening, which the Prime Minister is expected to attend.

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