Birmingham & Black Country

Open-door policy for Solihull students exam loo breaks

A college's exam students will have to be accompanied to the toilet during loo breaks and leave the cubicle door open, after attempts to cheat last year.

Solihull Sixth Form College admitted the decision was "extreme", but said it had taken it in response to mobile phones being used during toilet breaks.

The college said in the past mobiles had been smuggled into the toilets by an "inventive" minority of students.

Principal Paul Ashdown sent an email to parents explaining the new policy.

'Closely but sensitively'

In a statement, the college said it was implementing the measure during examinations to make students aware that it was simply not worth trying to cheat.

The statement said: "A very small minority of students attempt to cheat and they use increasingly inventive and sophisticated techniques, including using mobile phones smuggled into the toilets.

"The majority of students will not need to use the toilet during an exam. But, if they do, our experienced invigilator team will supervise closely but sensitively to ensure that no cheating takes place."

Students caught cheating risk being disqualified from that exam by the exam board, and possibly disqualified from all their other exams, according to the college.

The statement also said: "We are protecting the future chances of our students by implementing strict security measures."

Mobile phones are banned from exam rooms, which is standard practice, according to the college.

In a post on the Solihull Updates Facebook page, Birmingham student Abby Carter said: "Not being allowed to close the door is absolutely ludicrous, accompanying to the toilet and even a pat down and check of the cubicle would be fine, but being made to use the toilet with the door open is disgusting! This surely cannot be legal!"

The new rule is due to come in when mock exams take place later this month.

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