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Call to raise markers' fees to avoid shortages

CALLS to pay exam markers more have followed the decision in Scotland to raise payments by 50 per cent. The Scottish increase has been implemented to try to ensure there is not a repeat of last year's exams fiasco.

Headteachers' associations have voiced fears that the furore over incomplete results and inaccurate grades might be repeated in England and Wales this summer. The new A-level is expected to swell exam entries by a third and an extra 8,000 examiners will be needed.

Meanwhile, schools are becoming increasingly reluctant to release teachers to act as examiners because of the dificulty in finding supply staff to cover for them. Exam boards have been told to draw up emergency plans to cope with shortfalls.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "There is no doubt that unless we do increase the markers' fee we are going to face some-thing of a crisis."

Paul Sokoloff, convener of the Joint Council for General Qualifications, said examiners in England and Wales were paid more than in Scotland. With the increase Scottish markers get pound;7.50 an hour. In England and Wales fees are pound;9 or pound;10 an hour.

Julie Henry

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