A-level student feels victimised for 'cheating' but exam board stands by decision

Fabienne Ruttledge

An exam board has defended its decision to disqualify an A-level student from three quarters of her sociology paper.

Eighteen-year-old Fabienne Ruttledge was sent three out of the four questions on a WhatsApp group chat on the morning of her exam.

Speaking to Newsbeat, she says she feels unfairly victimised because others in the group weren't punished.

AQA says it disqualified others as there was "clear evidence" against them.

But Fabienne, from Essex, is adamant she did nothing wrong and is worried it will affect her career opportunities and university choices.

A whatsapp group

"On the day of the exam someone posted the questions in the group," she explains to Newsbeat.

"I dismissed it, I thought it was set out to put people off like a sabotage kind of thing."

It's believed the questions came from a student who sat the paper earlier due to a timetable clash.

The AQA website says if you become aware of cheating in an exam you should report it to a teacher.

Fabienne didn't do that.

AQA say: "No-one taking our exams should have an unfair advantage, so we thoroughly investigate accusations of cheating and only take action when there's clear evidence against specific individuals.

"Our advice to any student who receives supposedly leaked details about an exam is to report it to a teacher straight away."

Exam taking place

Fabienne says she didn't have an unfair advantage as she didn't take the message seriously, and says it didn't affect her final revision hours.

"I wasn't cheating," she believes. "I didn't ask the person for the questions. I was in this group purely for my own revision purposes.

"It's not my fault I was in there, it was a wrong place kind of thing."

She's asking for AQA to reverse the decision.

"We all had the same message sent to our phone, yet AQA have decided to only penalise four of us out of 40," she claims.

AQA say others were punished in this case and Fabienne is entitled to resit the exam.

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