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A Level Pupils Banned From Going To Toilet Alone During Exams

12/01/2015 09:06 | Updated 20 May 2015

Teenagers using mobile phones

Pupils have been banned from going to the toilet alone during exams to stop them cheating with their smartphones.

Solihull Sixth Form College has told teenagers sitting their mock exams later this month that they will have to be accompanied by invigilators if they're caught short – and they'll even be forced to

to keep cubicle doors open.

Principal Paul Ashdown said the 'extreme' measures were brought in after a number of students were caught with mobile phones during exams last year.

In an email to families, shown to the Birmingham Mail, Mr Ashdown said: "We have had students attempt to cheat using phones while on toilet breaks during an exam.

"This means that from now on, if a student does require a toilet break during an exam, they will be accompanied into the toilet area by an invigilator of the appropriate sex, and will not be allowed to close the door if they need to use an individual stall.

"Although this may seem a little extreme, it is the only way we can ensure a student does not use a mobile phone while in the toilet.

"Ideally, students should ensure they do not need to break their concentration by going to the toilet in the middle of the exam!

"I know I can rely on you for support with these security measures.

"Last year two of our students were disqualified from exams for attempts to cheat like this, and we do not want any student to feel this is worth attempting ever again."

Mr Ashdown added: "We have taken these steps to protect the future chances of our students.

"A very small minority of students attempt to cheat and they use increasingly inventive and sophisticated techniques, including using mobile phones smuggled into the toilets.

"However, the consequences of cheating are very severe as students will find themselves disqualified from that exam by the exam board, and possibly even disqualified from all their other exams too.

"We are protecting the future chances of our students by implementing strict security measures.

"The majority of students will not need to use the toilet during an exam, but if they do, our experienced invigilator team will supervise closely, but sensitively, to ensure that no cheating takes place."

But parents branded the toilet ban, 'grotesque'.

David Rogers, 55, whose 16-year-old daughter attends the college, said: "I cannot believe a college is even allowed to ban students from closing the cubicle door.

"The idea of invigilators standing guard outside the toilet and watching students sit on the toilet to make sure they don't take a glimpse at their iPhone is grotesque.

"You expect that sort of over-the-top behaviour in Nazi Germany but not at a sixth form college in Solihull during a mock exam."