Students deserve better treatment

The GCSE debacle this year rumbles on and on and is now becoming high farce.

The bottom line is that some of the most vulnerable students have been disproportionately affected, those who should have achieved a C grade in English, and in some cases, modular maths.

The recent revelations regarding the pressure put on examination boards by Ofqual (the examination watchdog) has reinforced schools’ commitment to have a regrading so that students gain the grades they deserve.

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It has come to light that Ofqual pressured the biggest examination board to raise the grade boundary for a C in English in August and while some minor grade boundary alterations are made each year in subjects, in the words of former Ofqual board member John Townseley, the action this year “goes dramatically further”.

Perhaps the most important point here is the belief by school leaders that Ofqual demanded the grade boundary raises without actually seeing any students’ work. It was simply a statistical exercise to make the initial grades awarded go down because they had awarded their quota of C grades earlier in the year; it was not a reflection of the actual achievements of students.

As the Welsh assembly demands a regrading of students’ work to recognise the standards they deserve, it is now the astonishing position that it is not only when students sat their GCSE examination, June or January, but where they sat the GCSE examination that determines the C/D boundary.

Grades and performance in the state schools in our area are on the way up because we are lucky enough to be served by good state schools, with hard working and committed teachers and support staff who engage in active partnership with parents and the community.

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We all deserve a better service from Ofqual, and we deserve and expect leadership with integrity from the Department for Education.

More revelations will no doubt follow. - Paul MacIntyre, headteacher, Myton School.

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