Fight will continue over GCSE English

Empty exam hall.'Cathedral School, Thornes.
Empty exam hall.'Cathedral School, Thornes.

A ROW over the grading of GCSE English continues.

Last week exam regulator Ofqual launched an investigation after changes were made to the grade boundaries set for English exams sat in July, compared with those taken in January.

It resulted in hundreds of pupils being denied a C grade, threatening their future education and employment prospects.

There was a fall in the proportion of GCSEs awarded an A*-C grade for the first time since the exams were introduced 24 years ago.

Ofqual has acknowledged that grade boundaries did change part way through the year, but has refused to order exam boards to remark any papers.

But pupils are being offered early resits in November.

Headteachers’ union Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said it was still threatening legal action.

Wakefield City Academy pupils were among those who sat the English exam in June.

Co-headteacher Marie Hunter, a member of ASCL, said the school was working with the union to give feedback.

She said: “We do not want to give up on those group of students and abandon them.

“It is an appalling situation when if they took the exam in January they got a C grade, but if they took it June they got a D.

“As far as we are concerned we want to see the fight continue.

“It has demoralised the staff in the English department and we are trying to boost their confidence again.

“Their predictions have been spot on in the past and this is just a trough, not a trend.”

Ossett Academy principal Martin Shevill said he had also given feedback to ASCL, but his school was unaffected as his pupils took the exam in January.

He added: “We were just fortunate and it was a coincidence that we took that particular exam earlier. If we had taken it in June, we would be in the same position. I do feel for the other schools.”

ASCL will now gather all the information before deciding what action to take next.