Appealing exam results

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Poorer students may face a disadvantage if they want to appeal an exam result, according to a Coleraine teacher.

Ulster Teachers’ Union Deputy General Secretary Jacquie Reid, a former teacher at Millburn Primary, fears that the almost 50 percent hike in GCSE and A-level results appeals across the UK last year – including Northern Ireland – will discriminate against less well-off families.

Schools can face steep appeal costs and the sharp rise in appeals last summer has resulted in more schools asking parents to pay for the re-marks as exam boards can charge almost £50 for some reviews.

“For families on lower incomes, a fee like this can make a hefty dent in the budget and for students whose parents do not have that sort of disposable income.

“The result is that they may be denied access to justice in the education system in the form of fair reward for their efforts,” said Ms Reid.

Last summer the number of appeals at A-level and GCSE rose by 48 percent, to 450,000, according to figures for Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

Some 45,000 of these appeals resulted in changes to exam grades - a rise of 15 percent on 2013 figures, and 50 percent more than in 2011.