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Entire year fails A-levels – is the school to blame?

Pupils at a private school in Germany who recently took their A-levels all failed because of inadequate education provided by the school. The pupils do have a right to receive compensation.

Entire year fails A-levels - Is the school to blame? © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Entire year fails A-levels – Is the school to blame? © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Bad preparation for A-level exams

Twenty-seven students from a private school in Schweinfurt, Germany, were entered for the technical diploma exam (the technical equivalent of an A-level). Not one of the 27 students passed. The reason given was that the children had received inadequate, yet expensive, education from the fee-earning school. To study at the school, pupils pay 1,680 euros a year.

The student-school agreement

In the student-school agreement, the school undertakes to provide the students with an appropriate level of education. The students can therefore expect to be imparted with the information required to pass their exams.

If this minimum level is not obtained – because a teacher teaches the wrong material for example – it amounts to a breach of duty by the school to make good on the agreement and a right to receive compensation arises. The failure of teachers is attributable to the school.

Compensation for exam failures

The amount of compensation to which the pupils are entitled is based initially on the amount of school fees paid. However, in theory it is also possible to claim damages above and beyond the past financial loss.

For example, a student who has an offer of a bursary to undertake an apprenticeship may be able to receive compensation as a result of the offer being withdrawn. However, the calculation of such damages is complicated by the fact that it is based on assumptions.

Evidence of bad teaching

Providing evidence of bad teaching is also a difficult task. The pupils would need to prove in court that the exam failures were due to bad teaching by the school and not because of their own bad learning techniques.

School inspectors

In addition to facing civil action from its pupils and damage to its credibility, the school may also have to allow school inspectors in to examine quality.

As even private schools are subject to state supervision, if the school is found to be providing a sub-standard quality of education, it could face closure.

Rafaela Wilde ist Partnerin der Kanzlei WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE und beratende Justiziarin des Film- und Medienverbands NRW e. V. Sie vertritt bereits seit Jahren erfolgreich die Interessen von Film- und Fernsehproduzenten gegenüber der Landesregierung NRW, den Fernsehsendern und anderen Wirtschaftspartnern.

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