COVID-19 coronavirus and BCS activities
Given the global impact and uncertainty regarding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), the BCS leadership, staff and volunteers continuously monitor and review different areas of impact within BCS and plan for any disruption or change in service that may result.
We continue to monitor advice from the World Health Organisation and Government in all the regions we operate. Our top priority is the health and safety of those attending any physical gathering of people organised by BCS and our partners. We have a responsibility to safeguard those most likely to become seriously ill from the virus by doing everything we can to prevent its spread.
This page serves as an update on our policy and position around the different aspects of our activity that are being impacted by this global issue.
We encourage all candidates expecting to attend a BCS examination at a physical location at any time in the near future to regularly check email communications and notices on our website and to check for emails sent directly from your examination centre, training provider, school or college.
Candidates for our HEQ examinations can check the specific status of examination sittings on this page
A number of examinations can be taken by candidates in a location of their choosing using our Remote Proctoring solutions - please see the specific section on Remote Proctored Examinations for details.
After reviewing the examination situation impacted by COVID-19 measures and following discussions with the Regulators, BCS introduced the adaption assessment method for BCS qualifications which was essentially to offer the examination using remote invigilation. This method follows regulatory guidance and is governed through the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF).
Following further clarification from the Regulators, BCS then offered its centres and learners a hybrid approach which allowed learners to receive an estimated grade for individual components of their qualification.
Estimation can only be used for individual units of a qualification when the learner is unable to take the assessment using remote invigilation and have completed at least 50% of the units within their qualification under ordinary conditions.
BCS has created comprehensive guidelines including a matrix of evidence for centres wishing to use hybrid approach. The matrix of evidence lists the items that may be used and assigns each piece of evidence a score. In order for the evidence to be considered and the unit awarded, a minimum score of 100 points must be reached. View the guidelines and matrix of evidence (PDF)
The approved centre must submit an ‘Intention to Estimate’ form for each learner that they wish to use the hybrid approach, outlining the reasons why remote invigilation is not possible for the learner.
The form will be reviewed by a Channel Partner Quality Officer. If the request is approved the Centre Manager will be provided with access to the BCS platform to upload the evidence for each learner. Once the evidence has been received and reviewed, if the learner has achieved enough points, BCS will upload the results into our learner system and the learner’s certificate will be generated.
If a learner wishes to appeal the result, they have received during the period covered by the ERF, they should contact their approved centre. BCS are only able to accept appeals directly from the centre rather than learners whilst the ERF is in place. For full guidance on submitting an appeal, please see our Learner Appeals Policy (PDF).
We understand this has been a distressing time for students who have been impacted by the unprecedented events as a result of COVID-19 and this has been further aggravated by recent events with AS, A Levels and GCSE results. We wish to reassure our students that BCS has not used algorithms or statistical standardisation for its results.
The majority of our students have taken the adaption route, essentially taking the same assessment on-line using remote invigilation rather than taking the assessment in their centre. In a few instances where students were unable to adapt, students could have their grade estimated if they had already taken more than 50% of the units within their qualification.
We published detailed guidance on how estimation was calculated and this guidance can be found here. If you wish to discuss this with a BCS representative then please contact us at email@example.com and we will be in touch.
Professional Certifications and Apprenticeship Knowledge Modules
A number of examinations in our Professional Certifications and Apprenticeships portfolio can be taken by candidates in a location of their choice using our Remote Proctoring solutions. This is where an examination sitting is invigilated remotely via the camera on a candidate’s computer. This is an established process that our training providers successfully use on a daily basis.
View a full list of exams that are available using remote proctoring (PDF)
We have also issued guidance to our training providers on how they can invigilate their own candidates using video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
View the remote proctor guidelines for candidates (PDF)
ICDL and Digital Skills
Approved centres are now able to invigilate their own candidates using video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
Guidance has been issued via the Approved Centre Forum.
All required approval and audit visits are being completed virtually during this time.
As we are required by Ofqual to complete an onsite visit, we will schedule an appropriate visit date with you during the virtual call. We will regularly monitor government guidelines and adjust dates if necessary.
Our normal processes for the booking of audits still apply.
BCS recognises that during the COVID-19 outbreak, consequent closure of universities and colleges and continued restrictions, adjustments to the delivery and assessment of programmes has been unavoidable. Whilst there is an expectation that safety restrictions will lift and therefore, that changes should be temporary and phased out as appropriate, peoples safety and well-being and hence adherence to government guidelines remains a priority.
It is expected that providers of accredited degrees will continue to aim to maintain delivery of full programmes and hopefully, as restrictions lift, this will become easier. Nevertheless, it is expected that there will likely be a continued need for adjustments into the next academic year. Adjustments may include delivery format, order in which modules are delivered, assessment methodologies, re-scheduling of learning and assessment into alternative periods, and possibly extension of end dates to enable work that has had to be suspended to be completed and assessed. BCS is not prescriptive as long as the changes are robust and quality assured.
Where a student has been / is unable to complete a module that delivers required Learning Outcomes, alternative mechanisms for assessing the achievement of those outcomes, and/or demonstration that those particular Learning Outcomes are also achieved in other elements of the programme that have been successfully completed will be required. Please note that where ‘no-detriment’ rules have been applied it is important that these will not permit a student to graduate with any condoned (failed) modules, or with more compensated modules than accreditation allows.
Accreditation of a degree programme is based on demonstrating that all graduating students achieve the specified threshold standard across all accreditation criteria and we are therefore not concerned with the degree classification or marks awarded to students (as long as they have exceeded the pass threshold), or any adjustment that may need to be made to these to take account of changes to the delivery or assessment of the programme during this time.
CAS community meetings continue to be hosted virtually and information about upcoming events can be found on our Community Events page.
Visit the CAS website for guidance and resources for parents around Home Learning, as well as lots of support and materials for teachers with our Remote Teaching pages. You can also catch up on our Summer Showcase and Autumn Event webinar series.
CAS Outreach Team
BCS staff, including our CAS Outreach Managers, continue to work remotely to offer support and guidance to our community members. Please visit the CAS website for more information.
The BCS Scholarships programme has moved online. All assessments are run virtually and applications can be submitted online at bcs.org/scholarships. Alternatively, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We continue to work with chairs of all Boards and Committees to review plans for upcoming meetings and, where appropriate, hold virtually. If you are involved in any BCS-led Board or Committee your secretariat will be in touch with relevant information.
All BCS staff continue to work. Members, customers and partners can continue to communicate with us through our advertised communication channels.
Some of our physical offices now have a different operational status.
- Swindon HQ, UK
Our headquarters in Swindon, UK are operating as normal.
- Bedford, UK
Our Bedford office is operating as normal.
- London Office, UK
Our London office is now open, please still maintain social distancing where you can however COVID restrictions have been lifted so the office will operate as normal.
- Sri Lanka Office, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Our office in Sri Lanka is running a skeleton staff on a rota basis. Our team continues to predominantly work from home. We would encourage our learners, members, partners and customers to conduct as much business as possible virtually to reduce face to face contact. However, if you need to visit the office please call first to make an appointment and ensure the member of staff you need to see will be available.
- Mauritius Office, Castel, Eau Coulee, Mauritius
Our office in Mauritius continues to function as normal.
Our Chief Executive, Paul Fletcher, issued a report to all BCS members at the end of 2020, which includes an update on what BCS has been doing in response to the crisis.