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Pupils At Newmarket College, Suffolk, Taught Dracula Instead Of Frankenstein Text For Exam

03/06/2013 12:11 BST | Updated 03/06/2013 13:38 BST

Pupils at a school in Suffolk were left with just five hours to be taught a novel for their exam after they found out they had been taught the wrong text.

A-level students at Newmarket College, Suffolk, had been studying Bram Stoker's Dracula for the past eight months when their English Literature teacher told them they should have been taught Frankenstein. The exam, set by AQA, is taking place on Thursday and will quiz students on Mary Shelley's gothic novel.

Students were told three days before half-term, meaning they were left with a matter of hours of teaching time.

Abbie Stallabrass, an 18-year-old student at the college, described the news as a "bombshell".

"[Another teacher] noticed Dracula had been dropped from the curriculum and we should have been studying Frankenstein," she told the BBC. "Our teacher came in and seemed unusually nice and chirpy, and then she dropped the bombshell. It was crazy. We were pretty horrified."

She added her class, which has four pupils, were given a five-hour intensive session before they broke up for half term which was "incredibly stressful".

The school, which Ofsted placed in special measures earlier this year, has launched an investigation into the "regrettable error", the Ipswich Star reported.

Nick Froy, deputy principal, told the local paper: "We can confirm that Newmarket College has launched an investigation into this deeply regrettable error and will inform all concerned when the facts have been established."

“We have alerted the relevant examination board and explained the situation. Once we have a response from the board we will be writing to the parents of the students involved to explain what measures have been put in place to protect their future interests."

He added the students affected had received "substantial" extra tuition with a Gothic literature expert and would be given additional exam preparation.

The examination board AQA said the school had informed it of the mix-up, with a spokesperson saying: "Exam boards do change set texts from time to time, and where this happens we ensure that we let schools know.

"Where a school has taught the wrong text by mistake, we work with them to find the most appropriate solution so that students aren't disadvantaged.

"We have put arrangements in place so that students will be able to refer to Dracula in part of their responses and their answers will be marked as normal."

The incident is the second exam blunder within a week; students at Sandown Bay Academy in the Isle of Wight sat down to their AS level exam only to find they had been taught the wrong set text. The school said it is now investigating the mistake.