English AS Level students ‘studied the wrong text’

A sixth form college has launched an investigation after a group of students sat down to an AS Level exam only to find they had been taught the wrong set text. This is from the Telegraph…

The eight pupils at the Sandown Bay Academy on the Isle of Wight had been studying Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker for a year.

But when they opened their AS English Language and Literature paper on Friday they found that the play was not included in the questions.

Now the principal of the college, Shaheen Khan-Jones, has launched an investigation into the error and the students could face having to re-sit the exam.

AQA confirmed today that they set the exam. In the course specifications, available online, the texts available include a number of literary classics.

They could have studied Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Eden Close by Anita Shreve, Shakespeare’s Othello, Pack of Lies by Hugh Whitemore, Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons, All my Sons by Arthur Miller or Strange Meeting by Susan Hill.

Below the list of texts the AQA course specification states: “The following texts will be available for a final re-sit opportunity in January 2013 ONLY: Equus: Peter Shaffer The Caretaker: Harold Pinter.”

The specifications were in force from 2010 onwards, and an AQA spokesperson confirmed that schools are always updated on any changes to the set texts.

A spokesman for the Academies Enterprise Trust, which runs the school, said: “We can confirm that an investigation has been launched into the circumstances which led to eight students at Sandown Bay Academy sitting an AS English Language and Literature examination without knowledge of the text featured in the paper.

“This is deeply regrettable. When the full details are known the Principal will write to the examination board to explain the position in order to safeguard the interests of the students concerned.

“At the resumption of the school term next week, the Principal will also write to the parents of the students to explain the position and the way forward.”

The Sandown Bay Academy, which includes a secondary school as well as the sixth form college, was placed in special measures after an Ofsted inspection in January judged it to be “failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education”.

The Academies Enterprise Trust is the country’s largest sponsor of academies, but the company recently slowed their acquisition of schools after the Department for Education raised concerns about their growth.

More at:  English AS Level students ‘studied the wrong text’

This sounds like one of those horrible dreams come true. Awful situation for all – what kind of checks would normally be in place to stop something like this happening?

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Categories: Academies and Secondary.


  1. daveg03

    SchoolsImprove poor students. This has to be the teachers fault and why didn’t the line manager check!?

  2. Chris1434

    Academy……. free from LA oversight……. as an LA adviser I used to pick up on this sort of thing in our schools, and usually managed to stop problems before they got to this point.
    Perhaps the parents should complain to the Academies Division of the DfE?

    • jhumphries

      No you didn’t! What kind of curriculum adviser is looking at every text studied by every class using every specification? I deeply lament the loss of LA specialist advice, but this was never their role.

  3. CobleyWriter

    SchoolsImprove Not sure I like this being publicised. A teacher has made a big mistake, he/she will be feeling bad enough as it is.

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