IT is a matter of fairness that pupils at St Leonard’s School in Durham should have their exam grades up-graded after the crumbling concrete problems that have bedevilled their school since September.

The pupils have had to endure a complete closure of their school for a week, having reduced teaching time, being in classes of up to 120, learning in sports halls with poor acoustics and not having adequate access to specialist equipment like science labs. This has been the picture over the last 17 weeks, and it is unlikely that the school will be back to normal until 2026.

Anyone can see that these problems must disrupt education, and now Durham university experts have calculated that it equates to a 10 per cent loss in exam performance.

These are children’s life chances that are in the balance here. A grade or two the wrong way and the pupil will not get into their preferred university, or apprenticeship. They are going to be judged against their peers who have had a last year of untroubled education – it is not going to be a fair comparison.

It must feel to the pupils that the system is weighted against them before they even begin. Exam results should be a true reflection of a pupil’s ability, yet in these almost unique conditions that is not going to be the case.

Exams represent the most stressful time in a child’s school life, and for students to go into them feeling undercooked because of all the disruption will increase their anxiety and so affect their performance further.

It is quite wrong for the exam boards and government to dismiss calls for these pupils to be given special consideration, especially now educational experts have evaluated the cost of the disruption.