Appeals heard a year after exams

SOME final appeals for GCSE and A-level results for 1997 have only just been heard, more than a year after the exams were taken.

The Independent Appeals Authority for School Examinations, which issued its annual report this month, still had four appeals pending as the report was going to press. They have only now been finally resolved.

The woman in charge of the appeals authority told The TES the long wait was "not satisfactory".

Appeals manager Philomena Waldron said: "By the time appeals get to us they have normally become a matter of principle for the centre involved in bringing it.

"It is very late for us to be hearing in the autumn appeals on the previous year's examinations.

"We actually ended up with three in September and one in October which is not satisfactory from anybody's point of view."

Russell Clarke, deputy general secretary of the Secondary Heads' Association, said: "What we want to see is an efficient and slick system because any kind of delay in getting a review has a knock-on effect the next year for the youngsters getting their results reviewed."

The appeals authority, which has an annual budget of Pounds 35,710, is due to be replaced in 1999 by a revised system of independent appeals currently being looked at by the Government. But the authority will still hear appeals for 1998 exams.

Even where an appeal has been allowed, the authority does not have the power to award a new grade. A successful appeal does not necessarily guarantee a higher grade. The authority's recommendations are passed back to the exam board for a further, independent re-mark.

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