Joe Cullinane

Scottish Labour Councillor for Kilwinning

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The Number of Exam Appeals at Local Schools down as SNP Introduce New Charging System

Joe has said that the SNP are putting local school pupils futures at risk after the number of exam appeals last year fell drastically after changes to the appeal system which introduced charges.

Figures revealed by Councillor Cullinane show that last year 308 appeals were submitted by Secondary Schools in North Ayrshire, down from 1404 the year before. 

138 Higher exam appeals were submitted in comparison to 409 the previous year. 

The new system, introduced last year, charges schools £15 for an ‘administrative check’ or £30 for a ‘re-mark’. However, unlike the previous appeal system only the exam paper is checked again, no other evidence, such as prelim exams, can be used to appeal an exam mark. If a paper is re-marked then the result can also be downgraded as well as upgraded. 

The new charging policy has been criticised for creating a two tier exam system because parents of children at private schools are given the option of paying for the appeal. However, in North Ayrshire the Council picks up the tab. The total cost of this year’s appeals to North Ayrshire Council was just over £7000. 

Speaking about the issue Councillor Cullinane said, 

“An appeal can be the difference between someone getting into University or not. It is therefore scandalous when parents at private schools can dip into their pockets to provide their kids with a second chance whilst state pupils can’t.” 

“Whilst the Council has quite rightly picked up the tab for the appeals the huge fall in the number shows that schools are less likely to appeal on behalf of pupils as a result of these changes.” 

“The pressure on school pupils to do well on the day has also increased because of the changes. The ability to evidence a pupils capability by providing assessments from throughout the school year provided a safety net against a pupil having a bad exam whether it be through nerves or otherwise. Now pupils aren’t even able to use their prelim exam results to support an appeal. Exams are very stressful and every year there are examples of very bright pupils freezing during an exam and now they have no safety net to fall back on.” 

“The SNP are putting local school pupil’s futures at risk with these changes. They are not progressive and have made the system less fair. I hope the SNP look at the evidence and reverse their decision.”

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