Published 27 September 2012
Ealing Council has joined forces with local authorities, schools and professional bodies across the country to challenge this summer’s GCSE English results.
The council has joined forces with 113 schools, 36 local authorities and six professional bodies exam in writing to exam regulator Ofqual and exam bodies AQA and Edexel. They are asking that students sitting their GCSE English exam papers in June be graded using the same criteria used for students who sat the exam in January.
The grade boundaries for the GCSE English foundation paper was increased significantly between the January 2012 and June 2012 exams. No notice was given to schools of this change.
This change had the most impact on students on the C/D grade borderline and, as a result, more than a hundred Ealing pupils have been left with D grades who, had they sat the exam in January, would have got a pass at C. GCSE English is a requirement for most further and higher education courses, as well as vocational training.
Councillor Patricia Walker, cabinet member for children and young people, said: This massive shift in grade boundaries was unprecedented, underhand and unfair. I believe that exams should be rigorous, but significantly increasing thresholds half way through the year, without any prior notification to schools, has put a significant number of our young people at a huge disadvantage.
All of our students should have been subject to the same standards of assessment, regardless of the time of year they sat their exam.
Mathew Cramer, headteacher of Greenford High School, said: Changing the grade boundary in English was no different than moving the goalposts half way through a football match. At the very least it was bewildering and disappointing; at worst it seems unjust.
At Greenford High, it prevented us from reaching the 80% mark for 5 A*-C grades, including maths and English, for the very first time. More importantly, it stopped 17 students from achieving their target grade in English. Inevitably, this has had a real impact on them at both a personal and an academic level.
A Pre-Action Letter written in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review has been sent to Ofqual, AQA and Edexcel. They have until Thursday 27 September 2012 to respond.