End crazy scramble for degrees;Letter;News amp; Opinion

19th November 1999 at 00:00
I READ Lord Mackay's recommendations on A-level appeals (TES, October 29) with interest. We have generally felt that our A-level results have been fair over the years, and have requested few re-marks. However, this year, we requested 16 re-marks, from three exam boards, across six subjects. Fifteen results have now been upgraded by one grade.

Two of our students (who happen to be twins) have had four A-level papers re-marked between them. In each case, their results have been adjusted upwards by one grade.

Louise now has Bs in French and biology (instead of Cs), and an A in English literature (instead of a B). Her total points score is now 26 instead of 18 and her "new" results would have got her into her first-choice university.

Instead, she had to go through clearing to gain a place at another university very much a "second-best" outcome at the time. Louise's sister, Helen, had her French result upgraded from a B to an A, raising her points score from 29 to 31.

The fraught scramble for university places during late August puts considerable and unacceptable pressures on schools, students and their parents, and, indeed on the whole university admissions process.

I know that many schools would welcome Lord Mackay's recommendations for altering examination boards' procedures and timescales so that re-marks are completed before university acceptance dates.

Peter Laurence, Headteacher, Brigshaw High School, Allerton Bywater, West Yorkshire

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