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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 18:43 GMT 19:43 UK
Students in A-level exam blunders
Greenhill school, Tenby
Greenhill School says it made a clerical error
Hundreds of A-level history and maths students in Wales have been caught up in mistakes over vital exam papers.

More than 1,600 sixth-formers sitting their maths exams at 140 centres were confronted by a question they had not been taught.
Greenhill school
Students spotted the wrong paper

The Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) spotted the mistake on Friday morning and contacted the exam centres immediately.

But some pupils at Merthyr Tydfil were 70 minutes into the exam before their headteacher was informed.

In a separate incident in west Wales, pupils at Greenhill School, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, were forced to sit and wait for 40 minutes after they were given the wrong history question paper.

WJEC chief executive Wyn Roberts explained the maths question was "not incorrect", but "the range of answers were outside of the syllabus".

Mr Roberts admitted half a dozen schools had completed the paper and he said the "regrettable" error should have been noticed earlier.

"This was one unit of possibly 3-6 so we will be looking at their performances across the range of units," he added.

"Those schools where pupils completed the paper we will now be working with them very closely."


The school regrets the delay and will be contacting the appropriate examination board to ensure that students who sat the examination should not be disadvantaged

Pembrokeshire council spokesman

But NASUWT Wales secretary Geraint Davies said the situation had been "regrettable".

"Over the last 50 years, the WJEC has had a record second to none, but having said that, this situation was unfortunate."

The Welsh Assembly responded swiftly, urging the WJEC to consider appropriate measures to ensure no such problem happened again.

Meanwhile, pupils in Tenby faced an anxious wait after a paper on history in England and Wales instead of European history arrived.

The correct paper was faxed to the school, copied and handed out and the exam began forty minutes later.

The examination board - the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) - blamed the school which in turn said it was a clerical error.

'Understandable'

Students said the delay did not help their preparations.

Sixth-former Ben Craig said: "The experience was very off-putting and we want an explanation from the WJEC."

The WJEC said the school was at fault.

Chief Executive Wyn Roberts said: "Making a mistake like this is understandable as there are so many options to choose from.


The experience was very off-putting and we want an explanation from the WJEC

Student Ben Craig

"The exam board was not contacted this morning about the problem."

It is believed the correct one-sheet exam paper was faxed from another school.

Pembrokeshire County Council described the incident at Greenhill as "an administrative clerical error" which resulted in the school being sent an examination paper for the wrong syllabus.

A spokesman said: "The error was discovered before the examination commenced and the correct exam paper was provided following a delay of 35 minutes.

"The school regrets the delay and will be contacting the appropriate examination board to ensure that students who sat the examination should not be disadvantaged."

Students were told a special circumstances form explaining what happened would accompany the papers when they were sent back to the WJEC.

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Wyn Roberts, chief executive, WJEC
"The situation with the maths question was regrettable"

Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

23 Jan 02 | Wales
11 Jun 02 | Education
17 Apr 02 | Wales
29 May 02 | Education
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