Dracula and Frankenstein in Newmarket school exam blunder

  • 31 May 2013
  • From the section Suffolk
Media captionAbbie Stallabrass found out she had been taught the wrong book two weeks before the exam

Pupils at a school were "horrified" to discover they had been taught the wrong Gothic text, two weeks before their A-level English exam.

Sixth-formers at Newmarket College in Suffolk studied Bram Stoker's Dracula instead of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Abbie Stallabrass, 18, said the "bombshell was dropped" three days before half-term, leaving them with only a few teaching days to prepare.

Exam board AQA said it was aware and pupils would not be disadvantaged.

Miss Stallabrass said the error was discovered by chance by another English teacher who was starting to prepare for the following year's course.

'Inadequate' school

"He noticed Dracula had been dropped from the curriculum and we should have been studying Frankenstein," she said.

"Our teacher came in and seemed unusually nice and chirpy, and then she dropped the bombshell. It was crazy. We were pretty horrified.

"On Friday another teacher gave us a five-hour intensive session on Frankenstein, which was incredibly stressful but it did get us up to speed with the story," she added.

Image caption Christopher Lee as Dracula in 1972 and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster in 1931

The class had been studying the Bram Stoker text for eight months and Miss Stallabrass said she and fellow students had to rearrange their half-term revision plans to take account of the blunder.

"We are all very nervous about Thursday's exam," she said.

"We really don't know what to expect and two of the class are relying on these grades for their university offers," she added.

No-one from the school - which was rated "inadequate" and "a school that requires special measures" in an Ofsted report earlier this year - was available to comment.

However, the examination board AQA confirmed the school had made it aware of the mix-up and said: "Exam boards do change set texts from time to time, and where this happens we ensure that we let schools know.

"Where a school has taught the wrong text by mistake, we work with them to find the most appropriate solution so that students aren't disadvantaged.

"We have put arrangements in place so that students will be able to refer to Dracula in part of their responses and their answers will be marked as normal."

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