Exam appeal charges ‘favour private schools’

The exam appeals system has come under fire. Picture: Comp
The exam appeals system has come under fire. Picture: Comp
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PUPILS in state schools are being priced out of a “second chance” in their exams, Labour has claimed after figures showed the number of appeals plummeted by 75 per cent when new charges were ­introduced.

Scottish Labour deputy leader and Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale said the system now favoured private schools where twice the proportion of appeals are lodged — and some parents are funding appeals themselves when youngsters don’t get the grades they want.

Costs include £10 to check if marks have been added up correctly and £39.75 for a full review of marking. While there is no charge if the appeal is successful, invoices are issued to schools if it is unsuccessful.

The proportion of appeals by private school pupils now stands at 3.6 per cent, compared with 1.5 per cent in state schools.

The new system of charging for appeals was introduced last year, as council budgets are squeezed. They are invoiced if an appeal is unsuccessful.

But in private schools, it recently emerged, parents can pay the schools to lodge appeals.

Ms Dugdale said: “The reality is that parents of private school pupils can put their hands in their pockets to give their kids a second chance, but state school parents can’t. The reality is that the SNP’s appeals charges mean the system now favours private school pupils more than ever. That’s not right.”

The Scottish Government insisted the reduction in appeals, in both state and private schools, was due to a change in the rules which made it harder to appeal. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the appeals system was “right and proportionate”.