A WELSH exam board at the centre of a row over GCSE English exam marking has offered schools the chance to choose 10 per cent of their papers to be sent back to them for free, so teachers can check how the papers have been marked.

WJEC chief executive Gareth Pierce wrote to head teachers across Wales yesterday to say that following concerns over January's GCSE English Language unit results, the board has been authorised by its regulator - the Welsh Government - to expand its post-results service beyond its usual remit.

This week the Argus reported that following an internal WJEC probe, the marking of one examiner has had to be re-done, but almost all of the GCSE English language papers for units one and two of the new course were marked correctly and accurately following a Welsh Government specification.

Welsh Government changed the criteria for the qualification in Wales two years ago and in autumn 2012 the revised GCSE English Language specification was put out by the WJEC.

January 2014 was the first time pupils sat two of the new exam units.

"Centres are invited to identify up to 10 per cent of candidates for each paper entered, for whom WJEC will provide scanned copies of their scripts free of charge," wrote Mr Pierce.

For example a centre with entries of 46 candidates for Unit 1 Foundation, 134 candidates for Unit 1 Higher, 24 candidates for Unit 2 Foundation and 78 candidates for Unit 2 Higher would be invited to identify up to six, 13, six and eight candidates respectively in these four units, he said.

Exams officers at schools and exam centres must submit their requests before next Friday, March 28. The standard Enquiries About Results service will also remain available.

In 2015, subject to legislation, Qualifications Wales will take over responsibility from Welsh Government for regulating awarding bodies and quality assure qualifications.