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Exam grades that were too low in national tests in English for 14-year- olds this summer were awarded to 40 per cent of pupils at just one school, an exam board has decided. When Oxford School, an Oxford comprehensive, appealed against the marks awarded to 34 pupils, the Southern Examining Group upgraded them all. Eleven candidates went up from level 3 to 4, sixteen from level 4 to 5 and seven from level 5 to 6.

The school said that its teachers were appalled by the standard of marking when the marked scripts were returned: they had not been marked consistently and a few students' papers had been marked by another examiner who had given much higher grades. A spokeswoman for the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority said: "The school seems to have a genuine grievance which is both unusual and unacceptable. If bad markers are identified they are not used again." Judith Judd

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