Huntingdon school in GCSE exam blunder

St peter's School

St peter's School - Credit: Archant

ERRORS at a Huntingdon secondary school saw GCSE geography students sit the exam TWICE – only to find out in the first attempt they were given the wrong paper and the second was invalid.

Twelve Year 11 students were resitting their exams at St Peter’s School last Tuesday (June 4). After they finished the first exam they were told that an administrative error meant they had sat the wrong test and the results would not count towards their hopes of improving their grades.

The school gave the students the chance to sit the correct exam at 5pm. But the four students who were able to take the test were told that their latest efforts would also be invalid as the start of the exam fell outside the exam board’s timing schedule – it had started outside the one-hour period allowed by AQA.

The school has launched an investigation and said the students would be given intensive help to hit their target grades.

One parent, who asked not to be named, said: “They said it was the wrong exam and gave the students an opportunity to take the actual test later.

“It was my daughter’s third exam in a day and then she was told the exam board would not accept it. It’s going to affect all of the 12 students’ futures.

“I hope my daughter still has enough [grades] to go to the college she wants after getting nothing at the end of three years of preparing for the exam.”

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Another concerned parent who contacted The Hunts Post described the situation as “entirely unacceptable”.

St Peter’s headteacher Val Ford said the incident was very disappointing and frustrating.

“This is the first time this has happened at St Peter’s in the seven years since I have been here,” said Ms Ford. “We have a 100 per cent excellence record in external exam checks. We have launched a full investigation into this and there will be some accountability.”

She added that the mistake was human error.

“All exams have a code and there are hundreds of them,” she said. “When the teachers register their students for an exam they enter the code. Unfortunately the wrong code was used. There are normally checks.

Ms Ford added: “The geography GCSE is made up of three components – paper one physical geography, paper two human geography and coursework. All 60 students in the cohort sat paper one at the end of Year 10 and all received a GCSE grade.

“Twelve students decided to re-sit the exam this year to try to improve their grade. Due to an administrative error they were entered for the incorrect paper. However, these 12 students already have a GCSE grade from paper one.”

Coursework has been completed and submitted while the geography paper two exam was to take place today (Wednedsay).

Ms Ford said students were to be given intensive revision support and teaching prior to the exam to help them “achieve their target grade or beyond”.

“Clearly we are very unhappy that this has happened and will do everything to support these students towards the next examination and beyond,” she added.