Top pupil, 17, stripped of GCSE grade after finding exam question online during last minute revision session

Pupils sitting an exam

Pupils sitting an exam

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 18/10/2023

- 14:57

The student’s family are demanding an apology and compensation

A top pupil has been stripped of his GCSE grade after finding an exam question online ahead of his maths paper.

Emil Bednarksi, 17, recognised the question when sitting his mathematics exam in May.

He stumbled across the same question the night before as he looked up practice papers for some last-minute revision.

The teenager was puzzled by the question and decided to query his teacher on the morning of the test.

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Bednarski’s teacher clocked the material was in the paper and reported his query to his school.

The Kensington Albridge Academy pupil was accused of cheating and deliberately obtaining the question early.

The 17-year-old is adamant that he did not realise it was going to appear in the paper and run it by his teacher innocuously.

Exam board Pearson refused to award Bednarski any maths GCSE grade at first.

Kensington Albridge Academy

Kensington Albridge Academy


However, the invigilator later handed him a grade 5, which the equivalent of a high C or low B under the old grading system, following an appeal.

The student’s family are demanding an apology and compensation.

Father Cezary Bednarski told The Times: “Not guilty of anything, Emil would have been knocked off his A-level education pathway.

“This would have had a significant impact on his prospects for the rest of his life, were it not for his school’s fairness and integrity.”

A person writing solving a math equation with a scientific calculator.

A person writing solving a math equation with a scientific calculator.


The school’s headteacher is standing by Bednarski, pointing out that it would be “very surprising” for a pupil to knowingly admit to cheating by sharing a leaked exam question with a teacher.

During his appeal, the student showed investigators his bank account to show no money had been exchanged for illegal access to exam papers.

In a statement, Bednarski said: “This whole saga, which in reality has nothing to do with me, placed me under massive stress... in the middle of my GCSEs.”

A spokesperson for Pearson added: “We cannot comment on individual investigations — however we take all malpractice allegations very seriously and our expert team investigates each and every one.

A-level students sit an A-level maths exam inside a sports hall

A-level students sit an A-level maths exam inside a sports hall


“Malpractice is extremely rare. We have well-established processes in place to ensure fair and accurate results.

“All exam boards use analysis during and after marking to look for tell-tale signs of malpractice in exam papers — both at an individual and cohort level.

“Our review found no evidence that would require an adjustment to the marking or grading of exams.”

Kensington Aldridge Academy is a non-selective, co-educational school in Notting Hill with more 1,300 students.

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