EDUCATORS have hit back at claims schools are using the exams appeals system ‘tactically’.

Exams body Ofqual said they had concerns schools were using manipulating the system to get better grades for students.

However, playing the appeals system would be far too expensive, one headteacher said.

It comes after Ofqual suggested that the GCSE and A-level appeals process was designed for a ‘more innocent era’ and open to abuse. They said they had seen tactical appealing at critical grade boundaries, such as upping a grade C to a B at GCSE.

Now Ofqual is set to overhaul the system.

Haslingden High headteacher Mark Jackson said as each remarking cost somewhere in the region of £30, he doubted schools had the funds to misuse the system.

He said: “If there are a lot of appeals taking place at the grade boundary, it would reflect a lack of confidence in the system, particularly in subjects like English which is more subjective.

“I doubt though it would be something schools did automatically for all their border-line grades; it would cost a lot of money.

“We don’t put in an appeal unless we think it really deserves another look and the grade could be wrong. I don’t see how any school would benefit from a different approach.”

Simon Jones, Blackburn and Lancashire National Union of Teachers representative, said teachers should be included in any overhaul of the system.

However he said a ‘high stakes’ system did encourage some schools to appeal.

He said: “As GCSEs and A-levels return to end-of-course examinations only, this is likely to be strain on the system.

“It means recruiting large numbers of markers all at the same time of year.

“Also, if you have an appeal process in a high stakes system it is not surprising that schools and parents will use it.

“This is another example of how attainment measures put a great deal of pressure on schools.”

Ofqual said the proportion of appeals had more than doubled in the past five years from 1% to 2.3% nationally.