Concern over new charges for Scottish exam appeals

The Herald Scotland is reporting that headteachers are warning a new system of exam appeals for Scottish schools could lead to some pupils missing out…

The warning comes after the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) introduced charges for the first time to cut down on bogus appeals as part of a wider shake-up of the system.

The new costs will range from £10 for a check to see if the marks have been added up correctly to £39.75 for a full review of the marking. No charge will apply if a mistake has been made.

The SQA has said it is up to local authorities to decide whether the costs are paid for out of central funds or taken from school budgets, but headteachers’ union School Leaders’ Scotland said a postcode lottery could result.

Ken Cunningham, the organisation’s general secretary, said he supported the introduction of the charges, but was against schools paying them.

“If individual schools have to pay, that could lead to inequalities in the system because some schools would be able to afford it and others would not,” he said.

“That would be unfair. We have to watch carefully that youngsters are not deprived simply because of where they find themselves.”

…An SQA spokeswoman said: “We expect requests for clerical checks and marking reviews to be made only if the school or college is confident this is the case.”

Bruce Robertson of the ­Association of Directors of ­Education in Scotland added: “We would not want to see any pupil disadvantaged and if there are good, well-thought-through grounds for a review then the school should go ahead, but the days of mass speculative appeals on grades are over.”

The move by the SQA, announced two years ago, has been broadly welcomed, with many agreeing the old system was used too widely by schools…

More at: Concern over new charges for exam appeals

What’s the best way round this? Does the decision, ultimately, not have to come from the school and if so do they not have to be on the line if a cost is due (i.e. if the appeal fails)? Can you suggest a better approach? And, as a comparison, how does the system in England work? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

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