Heads pledge to fight ‘unfair’ GCSE grades

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HEADTEACHERS have vowed to fight ‘unfair’ changes to GCSE grade boundaries which left many youngsters facing an uncertain future.

They plan to appeal against the shock results after scores of pupils expected to get a C in English were instead graded D.

Nationally, it is estimated that more than 10,000 fewer youngsters achieved the grades needed to study A-levels compared to last year. The exams regulator Ofqual has pledged to ‘look closely’ at concerns over changes to the grade bands.

Staff at King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds, have drawn up a list of up to 50 students whose English grades are down but are waiting to see what Ofqual decides.

Head Geoff Barton said: “We’ve got until the end of Sepetmber before we have to tell an exam board what we want re-marking. It will be interesting to see if Ofqual recognises what we’re saying and change the boundaries to what they were in January because otherwise it would be unfair.”

The school is ensuring ‘no student is disadvantaged’ by allowing them entry into sixth form based on their predicted grades.

Meanwhile, St Benedict’s Catholic School is taking advice on whether it would be best to appeal an entire batch of exam papers or seek re-marks for individual pupils.

Teachers had expected the number of those gaining five A*-Cs including English in maths to fall to up to 75 per cent following 81 per cent last year. However, the numbers plummeted to 56 per cent. Head Hugh O’Neill said: “The grades are completely out of kilter with our expectations. We’ve been advised that if we feel there’s been a notable and unacceptable grading of an entire batch that an appeal on the whole is the most appropriate.”

In terms of their sixth form intake, he said all prospective students are interviewed and they will ‘look at cases individually’.

Phil Thirkettle, vice-principal at West Suffolk College, said that when enrolling for courses student’s projected grades will be taken into consideration if they received a D.