How to avoid exam fee waste

25th May 2001 at 01:00
How do we deal with students who perform so badly that entering them in public exams can only be a waste of public money. Can we allow parents to pay the fees?

THE annual cost to schools of exam fees is enormous and it is galling to enter students who are doomed to fail, simply because they have not made the effort or have failed to fulfil coursework requirements. Fortunately, they have no automatic right to be entered. The law gives governing bodies the right not to enter a student for any examination, where they consider there are good educational grounds for their decision. This power would normally be exercised on their behalf by the hea, although the governors should be kept informed.

Parents may, of course, complain to the governors, but they have no statutory right of appeal in this matter. They also cannot get around the decision by offering to pay the fees: the law states that no charge can be made for entry to an exam for which a student has been prepared by the school. No doubt we could have an argument over the meaning of "prepared" but it is the fault of the student, rather than the school, that they are unprepared. The only avenue open to parents is to seek to enter externally at another centre, assuming the other centre is willing to take their money.

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