Pants on fire, but it's onlyan exam

Nick Hilborne

Some emergencies you can prepare for, others you cannot.

One of the more unexpected upsets in the exam halls this summer involved a male invigilator. He was very bored, but he had a lighter to play with in his pocket.

Flicking the switch on and off was not his best-ever idea. Fortunately, the invigilator reacted very quickly and needed no help to leave the room once he realised his trousers were on fire.

Jenny Johnston, regional officer at exam board AQA, said there were other unexpected incidents this summer for exams officers to tackle, including a hunt through a pile of school bags to silence a Crazy Frog ringtone.

Another involved pigeons in the upper windows of a sports hall during a GCSE design and technology exam making "amorous advances" to each other.

For some reason, this made the teenagers applaud.

Mrs Johnston said: "The students expressed their enthusiasm and support.

There is nothing in the booklet to help you deal with this. It is down to your own initiative."

She also noted that the summer exam season had been blighted by an "epidemic" of first-time epileptic fits. Students suffering from the attacks were usually inconveniently situated in the middle of the room, she said.

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Nick Hilborne

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