‘Model’ schoolgirl disqualified from GCSE for ‘racist’ exam comments – Regional

A schoolgirl was disqualified from a GCSE for making allegedly racist remarks in an exam paper.

By Ginny Sanderson
Saturday, 20th July 2019, 12:50 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th July 2019, 12:50 pm
Gildredge House. Picture: Google Maps
Gildredge House. Picture: Google Maps

The pupil’s mother and head teacher at Gildredge House, in Eastbourne, successfully appealed the decision to disqualify the 16-year-old for comments she made in her Religious Studies exam in May.

Mum Layla Ward said she was in ‘utter shock’ when she received a letter from exam board OCR accusing her daughter of making ‘obscene racial comments’.

She said: ‘My daughter has always been the model student, never had one detention in her whole school life. She is passionate about the environment, adores animals and is a strict vegan.’

Mrs Ward said she asked for a copy of the exam paper but was refused.

Stuart Reeves, head teacher at Gildredge House, appealed the disqualification as he felt the comment made on the exam paper was taken out of context.

He said: ‘Having followed the appeals procedure set out by OCR we have had a very positive response from them and they have overturned this decision.

‘OCR have been very helpful in this matter and have apologised for any upset and stress caused. I am delighted for her and I look forward to celebrating the results of all the students in the summer.’

A spokesperson for OCR said: ‘We have been in touch with [the pupil’s] family and school to inform them she is not disqualified and we apologise for the stress of the last few weeks.

‘OCR takes all incidences of suspected offensive material against a religious group in exams very seriously.

‘In this case, we carefully reviewed what had been written by the student. We accept that initially we did not reach the right conclusion and were too harsh.’