WATCH: Edexcel boss warns A-level maths cheats

Sharon Hague says that pupils benefiting from A-level maths security leak could have their results withheld

Will Hazell

Sharon Hague, of Edexcel exam board, has issued a warning to cheats after an A-level paper was leaked

Any pupils who tried to cheat using the leak of an A-level maths paper could end up not getting a grade, the head of the Edexcel exam board has warned.

Sharon Hague, senior vice-president for UK schools at Pearson, which runs Edexcel, said that when someone commits malpractice "they let everyone down". 

Exam regulator Ofqual has said it is "closely monitoring" Pearson's investigation, and the Metropolitan Police have revealed to Tes that they are investigating the incident as a theft. 

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Ms Hague has recorded a video message for students, parents and teachers as Pearson scrambles to contain the fallout from last week's A-level maths leak – the third Edexcel has experienced in three years.

Exam leak investigations

“As part of the marking process we will analyse individual student performance as well as that of groups of students," she says. 

"From this analysis, we will be able to identify whether there are patterns in the results that are unusual for either a particular school or college or students.

"For those individuals that have been found to have been involved in malpractice, we will follow the JCQ guidance, which can include withholding results for individual students."

In the message, Ms Hague says that while "security is of paramount importance" to Pearson, "we are all reliant on the collaboration and trust of everyone involved in the exam system, and when someone commits malpractice they let everyone down".

She also sought to reassure candidates taking Edexcel's A level in further maths, after Pearson announced that it had replaced the paper due to be sat on Thursday after concerns were raised about a second potential leak.

“Don’t worry, you can just go ahead and prepare for the exam as normal, students don’t need to take any special action," she says. "We will work closely with the examinations officer at your school, on the next steps."

The exam regulator Ofqual also issued a new statement this afternoon, saying: “Students, parents and teachers have been understandably upset by the rare, irresponsible actions of one centre which breached the security of Pearson’s maths exam taken on Friday. This is completely unacceptable."

They said that Ofqual had a team "closely monitoring Pearson’s investigation and its approach to awarding the qualification", and that the regulator had been "assured by Pearson’s prompt action on Friday to identify the source of the breach and the involvement of the police".

The spokesperson added: "We will continue to work with the exam boards to make sure the remaining exams of the summer are safely taken.

"Once results are issued, we will review the summer, including this incident, and consider what more can be done to protect the integrity of the exam system.”

The Metropolitan Police Service also confirmed to Tes that they are investigating the incident. A spokesperson said: "On Sunday, 16 June, an allegation was made by an exam board that a 2019 A-level maths paper had been leaked by a third party on social media.

"Officers recorded the allegation as an offence under the Theft Act 1968."

The spokesperson said there had been "no arrests at this time" and that "enquiries continue".

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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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