A former Birmingham headteacher has criticised a system for boosting candidates' GCSE and A-level marks - if their pet has died.
Guidelines from the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents the three exam boards in England, recommends a candidate should receive an extra two per cent if a family pet dies on the day of an exam, or one per cent if it passed away the previous day.
The recent death of a parent or close family member would merit an extra five per cent, while the passing of a more distant family member could add four per cent.
Witnessing a distressing event on the day of the exam is worth an extra three per cent, as is a freshly broken limb or asthma attack. Hay fever would merit an extra two per cent and a headache one.
Officials said it was an attempt to ensure consistency across the exam boards.
But Brenda Bullock, who taught in Birmingham for 40 years, described it as " absolutely daft".
"I don't think a tariff is a good thing because you have to take into account what else the child has done in other exams. These things should be taken into consideration but you can't have an automatic points system," she said.
Nick Seaton, chairman of Campaign for Real Education, said: "This panders to the growing attitude in society that there is an excuse for everything."