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Pupils ‘pay price of exam farce’
HARD-WORKING pupils have missed out on college courses and apprenticeships as a direct result of the GCSE exams fiasco says a headteacher.
Neil Morris, headteacher of Christopher Whitehead Language College in St John’s, Worcester, says he has 22 pupils who have since left his school, whose futures were directly affected by the grade changes.
The national row first broke in August over how this summer’s English GCSE exam papers were marked, after it emerged the grade boundaries were changed – in at least one case it has now emerged – two weeks before the exams were due to be taken. The result, as we previously reported, was that a lower level of pupils got the five grade A* to C GCSEs which the Government uses to measure academic success across Britain.
Yesterday, MPs were set to grill education secretary Michael Gove for the first time over what has happened.
On Monday, the Welsh education minister ordered the re-marking of every Welsh pupils’ English paper.
That has led to calls for education secretary Michael Gove to follow suit, as it raises the spectre that Welsh pupils may now receive higher revised grades than pupils just over the border in England.
But Mr Gove says that decision could devalue Welsh pupils’ attainment against that of their English counterparts. Ofqual, the independent exam regulator, has launched an investigation and teaching unions have supported calls for the re-grading of all exam papers.
Mr Morris says the “unjust” grade changes have disenfranchised pupils. “I have one pupil predicted a B, who got a high D instead – and was on course to do A-levels, and is now having to do a re-sit to get his grade up,” he said.
“I’ve got two students who were going to take up apprenticeships, who now cannot because they didn’t get the required criteria.
“I’ve got students who have had to make key decisions about their future, based on this farce.”
He has since written to the parents at his school whose sons and daughters were affected. Meanwhile, Mr Morris said in an education system where exam results directly affect the outcomes of Ofsted inspections, the potential drop in GCSE attainment at other schools could put headteachers’ jobs at risk where schools fail to meet the floor standard required for exam results.