New exam chaos as papers arrive late

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The Independent Online

Pupils at one of the country's leading public schools have become the latest victims of the examination crisis after being forced to wait nearly an hour for their biology AS-level papers to arrive.

Pupils at one of the country's leading public schools have become the latest victims of the examination crisis after being forced to wait nearly an hour for their biology AS-level papers to arrive.

Girls at £16,000-a-year Roedean were left in limbo when the scripts, set by the beleaguered exam board Edexcel, failed to turn up on time. The blunder is the latest in a series of errors that has led to calls for Edexcel to have its licence to run exams revoked.

A statement from Roedean said: "On Friday 24 May we checked our examination paper supplies as usual in preparation for Monday's exams, only to discover that the 30 papers we required for biology were not included in the box we received from Edexcel despite being on the packing lists."

The school in Brighton, East Sussex, received an assurance they would be there by 8am on the Monday but – when they failed to arrive – it contacted the board again. The board then faxed the paper to the school two minutes after the exam was due to start.

"We then had to photocopy and collate this by hand," the statement added. "We were finally able to start the exam at 9.50am." Edexcel said last night it had apologised to the school.

The blunder emerged after a third exam board had admitted earlier in the day it had been responsible for a script error. A diagram in a GCSE health studies paper set by the OCR board used scientifically inaccurate information.

Meanwhile, exam boards are being forced to enlist the help of priests and vicars as part of a move to overcome a drastic shortage of markers this summer. They have sent an emergency letter to various churches because religious education is the subject area with the biggest shortage of markers.

The Government appointed the Australian educationist Dr Ken Boston as head of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority yesterday, with orders to ensure that "all qualifications meet the highest possible standards".

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