06/06/2012 07:53 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Over-Protective Parents Force Rise In Exam Re-Sits For 'Infantilised' University Teens

Over-protective parents force rise in exam re-sits for 'infantilised' university teens PA

Pushy and over-protective parents are being blamed by universities for soaring numbers of exam appeals and re-sits.

Oxford dons say "mummy and daddy" need to cut the "umbilical cord" and accept their children's exam results first-time round instead of constantly asking for reviews.

They claim that after paying for remarks and resits 'at every stage' of the A-level and GCSE process, some parents see nothing wrong with encouraging their children to appeal against their university exam marks as well.

But of the 224 appeals received in the past year, only one case of incorrect marking was found.

David Palfreyman, bursar of New College and director of the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies, said: "Mum and dad have paid for a re-mark and a resit at each phase of the A-level process. The students just carry on that mentality at university and so do mummy and daddy.

"The family is investing in it so it is not surprising if mum and dad work out that there is this appeals process.

"Compared with my day, when you had to go out of your way to get to a phone box to ring mum and dad once a week, with the mobile phone mum can track you down any time but equally you can ring mum because you don't know how to open a tin of beans.


It is more difficult to sever that over-dependency if you can contact them so easily. If you are not careful, the child will march into their interview with their mother. It is infantilisation.


Now the university's proctors, who act as ombudsmen for the students, have sent guidance to colleges reminding them of the strict rules surrounding appeals in an attempt to cut down the amount of time dons spend checking marks.

Professor Laurence Whitehead, one of the university's proctors, said some students were having difficulty "negotiating the transition from adolescence to adulthood".

"In many ways they are highly sophisticated, but many have also grown up more protected and with less experience of the world than almost any of their predecessors," he said.

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