Extra exam stress for pupils as teacher loses test papers


By Michael MacLeod

DISGRUNTLED pupils at a Scots school are being forced to re-sit exams after a teacher lost their papers.

In a grovelling letter to parents, a teacher at Irvine Royal Academy confessed his “considerable regret” over the bungle.

But angry school kids are upset they will have to face the stress of the Higher English prelim for a second time.

The class of around 25 will re-do the exam this week at the north Ayrshire school, whose former pupils include blunder banker Sir Tom McKillop, who quit his post as chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland last year after taking personal responsibility for its plight.

Red-faced education bosses said staff hunted high and low for the missing test papers.

But they were forced to admit that losing prelim papers was “totally unacceptable” and could leave pupils doubly distressed.

Prelims “crucial”

One angry parent, whose son spent the weekend revising for a second time, said: “He came home after sitting his prelim and thought he had done quite well.

“Then he was sent home with a letter saying this mistake had been made and he’d have to go through the whole thing again.

“Prelim marks can be crucial.

“If you muck up your Higher exam in May you appeal your grade based on the prelim result.”

The School’s principal English teacher Colin Doig was forced to explain the gaffe in a letter to parents and guardians.

He wrote: “Papers were distributed in the department for marking.

“During this process one set is unaccounted for.

“Every effort has been made to recover the papers but to no avail.

“I realise the situation is completely unacceptable and may well cause distress to you and the students.

“The department and school will take all possible steps to minimise any effect this may have and to support students though this process.

“Unfortunately this will require the students to sit a second prelim.”


He also offered to meet parents face to face if they wanted to discuss the teachers’ exam paper failure further.

North Ayrshire Council, which governs the curriculum at Irvine Royal Academy said “appropriate action” had been taken.

A spokesperson said: “Examination papers for one of the Higher English classes have been mislaid.

“Despite extensive searches, staff have been unable to locate them.

“This is a very rare occurrence.

“The head teacher has apologised to the pupils affected and has communicated with parents to explain the situation.

“Appropriate action has been taken within the school to ensure that firstly the young people will not be disadvantaged as a result of this and arrangements put in place to ensure that there will be no reoccurrence.

“We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to the students.”