Demands for GCSE regrades

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A LEADING councillor is to write to the school exams watchdog to demand a regrade of this summer’s controversial GCSE exams.

Cllr Graham Newman, cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council, is preparing a letter to Ofqual to seek a reconsideration of the exam papers, which saw many young people expecting a C in English instead receive D.

He has hit out at the regulator’s decision to allow students to retake the exams in November.

Cllr Newman said: “I’m concerned about the future and wellbeing of these young people.

“The ask is for a regrade or reconsideration of the existing papers rather than expecting them to pitch up in November and get the results in February. That’s another six months out of their lives.”

He added that he was continuing to work with headteachers and the Learning and Improvement Service to ‘exert as much pressure’ as possible.

The ongoing saga over the new grading system has dominated the headlines again this week after headteachers told the Education Select Committee there were ‘major flaws’ and unfairness in the grades.

Meanwhile, in a further twist the Welsh Government has ordered a regrade of the GCSEs in Wales. As a result, pupils in England would have lower grades than their Welsh counterparts for the same work.

Geoff Barton, head at King Edward VI School, who met Glenys Stacey, chief executive of Ofqual, last Thursday, noted that the development in Wales ‘reinforces how patently unfair the scenario is’. He said: “How can you possibly have remarks going on in Wales and two miles across the border they’re saying ‘we’re not doing anything’. It’s reflecting really badly on Ofqual and the Secretary of State (Michael Gove). I’m renewing the call for some leadership on the whole matter.”

Mr Barton presented examples of work by affected pupils during the meeting in Coventry with Ofqual and members of the Association of School and College Leaders.

He added: “I came away feeling that Ofqual while showing some concern didn’t have any answers.”