Blunders mar exam celebration

Papers being thrown away are among errors that upset Scottish and Welsh candidates, reports Adi Bloom

While their fellow candidates celebrate high overall pass rates, a number of Scottish and Welsh students have been left in confusion by a series of exam blunders.

A-level results in Wales are once again above the UK average, as are those in Northern Ireland. According to the Joint Council for General Qualifications, Welsh students achieved an overall pass rate of 95.8 per cent, and Northern Irish students 96.4 per cent, compared to a UK figure of 94.3 per cent.

While 20.7 per cent of candidates achieved A grades UK-wide, 21.15 per cent of Welsh pupils did, as did 28.1 per cent of Northern Irish.

In Scotland, Higher candidates achieved a pass rate of 69.7 per cent, with a 71.7 per cent pass rate for Advanced Higher exams.

But not all candidates will be celebrating. A clerical error at the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA exam board has meant that an envelope, containing 293 Welsh AS scripts, was delivered to the wrong address, and subsequently thrown away.

"It's really upsetting," said Abigail O'Hara, 17, from Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Denbighshire, whose paper was destroyed. "Your entire year's effort goes into that final exam, and it's just been thrown in the bin."

Affected pupils will be awarded a grade based on their performance throughout the year. In Scotland more than 1,000 Scottish students were offered university places for which they were unqualified, after the University and Colleges Admissions Service mistakenly upgraded their results.

"We regret any errors," said Anthony McClaran, deputy chief executive of UCAS. "We will do everything in our power to ensure that students'

positions are confirmed as soon as possible."

An internal investigation has already been instigated.

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