WOULD teachers believe a pupil who said they'd put their homework in the recycling bin by mistake?
The excuse would probably be seen as a more environmentally-conscious version of "The dog ate it" or "I left it on the bus".
But as a school on the Isle of Wight now knows, these things do happen, and this time, it's the pupils who have the right to raise their eyebrows.
An examination marker's environmental zeal has left more than 70 11-year-olds at Swanmore middle school in Ryde without their key stage 2 English results.
According to the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance exam bard, the examiner mixed the papers up with the recycling pile, while marking at home.
Parents and teachers were horrified to discover two years of hard work had been pulped.
"I've never heard of such a thing happening in 23 years," said George Turnbull, a contrite spokesman for the agency.
He added that the unfortunate marker was unlikely to be used again.
Some pupils no doubt began to celebrate at the news that they won't have to re-take the tests.
But they may be in for a disappointment. Their parents will still be given teachers' assessments of their performance.