Thursday, June 11, 1998 Published at 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK
Teacher faces legal action over exam leak
Six thousand pupils have had their exams postponed
A teacher who allegedly leaked a history GCSE exam could be sued by the examinations board that set the paper.
The Council for the Curriculum, Examination and Assessment in Northern Ireland said it had traced the "breach in confidentiality" to a man it contracted to set questions for the exam.
The board disclosed in a statement that it had sacked him and was considering taking legal action to recover the costs of rescheduling the paper.
The second part of the GCSE history examination was to have been taken by 6,000 students on Thursday.
However, it was reset and postponed until the following Tuesday after the council learned that questions from the first paper had been leaked.
The teacher concerned is alleged to have used the confidential questions from this year's test in his own school's mock exams.
Colleagues in the school are then said to have innocently shared them with teachers in at least seven other schools, who used them for revision purposes.
The Chief Executive of the Council for Curriculum, Examination and Assessment, Catherine Coxhead, said the breach of trust had dealt a blow to the integrity of the entire exam system.
"I regret and am angered that his action has caused stress and disruption for candidates taking GCSE history," she said.
"I want to reassure candidates that I will personally see that all possible steps are taken to ensure that they will receive the GCSE history grade to which they are entitled."
A report on the leak has been passed to the Northern Ireland education minister, Tony Worthington, by the examination board.