Head apologises for exam debacle

Magdalen College School,Brackley exam mix-up.Michael Woodall-Majores,left and father Mick Woodall. 120523M-C155
Magdalen College School,Brackley exam mix-up.Michael Woodall-Majores,left and father Mick Woodall. 120523M-C155

THE headteacher of Magdalen College School has issued an apology this week after an administrative error led to seven students being asked to leave in the middle of a GCSE exam.

Around 10 minutes after students began their religious education exam on Tuesday, May 15, seven students were tapped on the shoulder and asked to leave the examination hall in front of around 200 others sitting the paper. They then had to wait in isolation while the others completed the exam.

Headteacher Ian Colling said it was a one-off administrative error and some of the students have been entered for an alternate RE exam next week.

But Mick Woodall, of Hill Street, Brackley said his 16-year-old son, Mickie, was humiliated by the incident and demanded written apologies for both students and parents. Mr Woodall’s anger was compounded when Mickie was asked to leave a second exam on Wednesday.

Mr Woodall accepts his son should never had been entered for the second exam on the basis that he had not completed coursework which made him eligible, but said after the first mistake the school should have triple checked entries.

Mr Woodall said: “He’s very angry, part of the problem is that he’s lost confidence. A couple of the other students told me they were asking themselves, ‘is this going to happen to me.’ I said, ‘of course it won’t’, but it has.”

One parent, who asked not to be named, also claimed trust has broken down. She said: “My son eagerly took up the chance to do the exam again, he really wants to give it a go. But he’s still upset, and how can I convince him it’s not going to happen again?”

Last year MCS received its best ever set of exam results and in October Ofsted rated the school as being good with outstanding features.

In a statement Mr Colling said a small group of students were withdrawn from exams after a mock exam indicated they would not improve on results of the exam taken last year.

He added: “Unfortunately the students were not informed of this decision and this led to them turning up for the exam and then not being allowed to sit the paper. Clearly this should not have happened and we are very sorry for the upset that this will have caused. Parents have been contacted and the school is working to establish the reasons behind what went wrong. The students have another opportunity to sit RE on May 31. The students involved have received written apologies and they are being supported in preparation for the exam on the 31st.”