Don’t get me started on the Secret Examiner’s ‘Whistle Blowing’

GCSE Whistleblower

Don’t get me started on how angry I am at the so called ‘whistle blower’ and the timing of their decision to tweet their concerns as an exam marker.

In true Paper 2, question 5 style or Speaking and Listening topic – I feel the need to respond to the recent furore regarding the so called AQA ‘whistle blower’ who this week, took to Twitter, to blow the whole ‘shit-show’ wide open regarding the Paper 1, creative writing, 40 marker.

As we teach our pupils, any good polemic should commence with the sentence, Don’t get me started- so…

This week, via social media, under the pseudonym of ‘Secret Examiner @barnacle_bob’ an AQA marker tweeted that the marking of Paper 1 was, in their words, a ‘shit-show’ and proceeded to outline what appears to be massive descrepancies and systematic flaws in the standardisation of question 5 which counts for 25% of the whole English language grade.

This has obviously been catnip for the press, the TES have also expended on the alarmist nature of the tweet with their article.

I don’t know how much veracity is held in the tweet but that is not what has made me so cross. 

It is the way the ‘secret examiner’ has chosen to leak his opinions and the timing of the secret examiner’s expose that is wrong. 

The absolute lack of thought for the impact on millions of young people who have worked so very hard is what annoys me.  They are desperately waiting for results day in August to see if their grades will leap-frog then to the next stage of their lives, that is the part that so unfair.  They don’t need added worry.

Don’t call it ‘whistle-blowing’ because it isn’t. Whistle blowing is following the policies and procedures outlined as a legal requirement by an organisation, this was an anonymous, irresponsible tweet, in what smacked of attention seeking and virtue signalling.

This could have been handled better.

This expose took place during the majority of year 11s, prom week and many young people have been very unsettled and unnerved by this at a time when they should have been enjoying the fruits of their labours.

Parents are also naturally concerned. I have spoken to many parents and pupils this week who are naturally worried and in some cases, upset.

Don’t get me wrong, I sympathise with all GCSE markers. This is a thankless, low paid task and many teachers do it for the CPD opportunities rather than the money (which works out about £8 an hour!) and now that would appear to be in question.

I also particularly feel for the English markers who have to mark a subject which by its very nature can be extremely subjective.

Who knows what is going on at AQA or the other ‘big hitters’ for that matter but all I do know it’s that the tweeting of this information is irresponsible, badly handled and damaging for so many people. 

This could have been done in a far better and responsible manner.

About the author:

Sharon Cawley is the business owner of Conexus Tuition Ltd and Conexus Tuition Franchising Ltd 

For further information go to or about franchising opportunities.

One Response

  1. As an AQA marker I agree that the said tweet should never have been published. Apart from anything else it is a breach of contract. Only examiners fully understand the system and I can assure parents that it is a good system.
    The examiner in question knew the rate of pay before marking started. A contract was signed and then blatantly breached. Shame on him/her!!

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