Veteran teacher sits A level – gets a B


A VETERAN teacher at Tony Blair’s old school has exposed the “unfair” and “harsh” exam system after sitting an A Level paper – and only getting a B.

Languages teacher Jeremy Morris took the French A level exam alongside his Fettes College students last year as an experiment.

The £30,180 a year elite school in Edinburgh boasts that 45% of its students achieved A* or A grades in 2014, but Mr Morris did not make the cut.

Fettes College is one of the nation's most exclusive independent schools
Fettes College is one of the nation’s most exclusive independent schools


In an essay question on two works of literature he has taught for decades he received a mark of just 64% – the bare minimum for a B grade.

Although his overall grade for the paper was dragged up to an A by other questions, Mr Morris was quick to hit out at the exam system as he felt he should have achieved an A*.

He said: “I’ve been teaching this for over 30 years. If I can’t get it right, how can a 17-year-old?”

He added: “The mark I achieved was just one point better than ‘adequate understanding; some evidence of reading and research’.

“Evidently I am a beta minus man and lucky to still have a job”

But Mr Morris said that he was not surprised by his grade, as he had been “anticipating some fairly arbitrary marking”.

The news comes as the Scottish exam system is under fire after students complained that this year’s higher maths paper was “impossible”.

More than 14,000 people have now signed two petitions, urging the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to consider the difficulty of the exam in marking students’ papers.

Mr Morris also suggested that “harsh” and “unfair” marking in languages papers was to blame for a decline in the number of students choosing to study the subject.

He said: “The perceived reluctance to award the top grades which so many universities require is a factor which prompts our ablest pupils to opt for subjects with more predictably successful outcomes.”

He added that the marking schemes were also causing schools to steer clear of teaching languages, because they were “not producing grades that look good in the statistics”.

Mr Morris, a former head of languages, confirmed that he had not been sacked for his low marks, but was in fact applying to become an A-level examiner.

He said: “I hope I’d be reasonably competent and give a kid a fairer deal than I got.”


  1. 1. misleading article: SQA has nothing to do with A Levels. A Levels are set by English exam boards, not SQA. The author and whoeever republished here should checked their info is correct before publishing!
    2. this ‘Scottish’ school might want to start sitting Scottish exams!
    3. everyone can have a bad day during an exam…teachers included. maybe he messed up that day and is blaming the system instead…

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