§ Sir Nicholas Bonsor
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) for how long the examination board is required to keep papers in an examination the result of which is in dispute;
(2) how many schools queried the Midland examining group's assessment of the marks to be awarded for the English examination of GCSE (a) in 1988 and (b) in 1989;
(3) whether an examination board is under any obligation to notify a school when its pupils' exam papers are to be destroyed.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
The groups are indepedent bodies, wholly responsible for the administration of their own examinations. Queries concerning grading decisions are entirely a matter for the group and the school concerned, and the Department does not collect information about the number of queries or appeals at group level.
I understand that, where results are in dispute, examination scripts are kept for as long as a formal appeal is under consideration. Once the appeals procedures have been exhausted, or it has become apparent that a school intends to take no further formal action, the examining group normally destroys the scripts, but it is under no obligation to notify a school that it has done so.