Highcliffe School apologises for GCSE blunder

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A Dorset school has apologised to GCSE pupils after it set them the wrong science assessments.

In a letter to parents, Highcliffe School in Christchurch admitted it had given students controlled assessments for 2014, instead of 2013.

The children now have to complete the correct work, weeks before they are due to begin exams.

One parent said it put "a lot of unnecessary worry on already stressed children."

The parent, who did not wish to be named, described the school's mistake as "shameful". She estimates studying for the practical assessment would take her son about 20 hours.

"Having to redo the work so close to the exams will put them at a disadvantage compared with all the other schools in the country - they will have less time to concentrate on the rest of the GCSEs that they have to revise for," she said.

'Some anxiety'

In a statement head teacher Judith Potts said the school had apologised to students and "contingency plans" had been put in place when the mistake over chemistry and biology assessments was realised.

"I understand that the situation with the coursework may have caused some anxiety for students.

"Procedures are well in place to ensure that there is no impact for the final result".

She insisted there was enough time to carry out the correct assessment and extra revision classes would be offered if required.

A spokesperson for the exam body, Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR), said: "We understand that sitting the wrong controlled assessment task is an upsetting situation for students.

"To ensure that our examinations are fair to all students, up and down the country, we have informed the school that it must submit work for the correct year of assessment."

It said it published science tasks a year in advance so teachers can plan their lessons and each task is clearly labelled with the year it should be submitted.

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