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Edexcel failed to correct errors in A-level exam

The exam board Edexcel was criticised this week for failing to correct more than 10 errors in an exam booklet despite being given more than a month's warning.

Clive Symons, head of geography at Ralph Allen school, Bath, who spotted the blunders, said it was the third year running he had contacted the board about errors in papers.

He faxed details of the mistakes, in an advance copy of a resource booklet for A-level geography, to Edexcel on May 13. But when his pupils sat the exam on Tuesday there was no mention of them. The only error the board identified - in a warning attached to the paper - told candidates the word "pipeline" had been misspelt.

Edexcel told Mr Symons its markers would take his points into account. But he said: "I was hoping it would contact centres before the exam issuing an erratum notice to point out the major errors. Instead it chose to apologise for a spelling error which an average Year 7 student would have spotted."

Mr Symons said the paper included incorrect dates, an incorrect geographical term and discrepancies on map scales. "By not acknowledging errors it was already disadvantaging students by giving them misleading data and undermining their confidence in resources," he said.

An Edexcel spokeswoman said that while there were issues of interpretation in the paper there was nothing that would have prevented candidates from answering the questions correctly.

"We do not consider them to be errors and where there were errors they were from the original source material," she said.

* The Edexcel Foundation is advertising for a new chief executive on a salary of pound;65,000. The charity recently sold a 75 per cent stake in its Edexcel exam business to the publishing firm Pearson. It has reserves of pound;40 mil`lion, half of which has come from the proceeds of the sale. It now aims to give pound;2m a year in grants to education.

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