Leeds City council plans fight for GCSE grades ‘justice’

Pupils Rachel Levine (left) and Elly Hunter at Boston Spa School  who have  both  been marked a grade D in English Literature and English Language and were expected to receive a grade C.

Pupils Rachel Levine (left) and Elly Hunter at Boston Spa School who have both been marked a grade D in English Literature and English Language and were expected to receive a grade C.

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Leeds City Council is continuing its calls for a judicial review over the changing of grade boundaries in GCSE English after the regulator Ofqual ruled out work being re-graded.

Education bosses in the city say the future of at least 400 young people in Leeds has been left “hanging in the balance” after being given Ds when the same work would have received a C if they had been assessed in January rather than June.

The executive board member responsible for children’s services Coun Judith Blake said the authority would join forces with other councils and schools to get justice for young people who had been “unfairly treated”.

Ofqual’s initial report into the GCSE row admitted yesterday (August 31) that exam boards’ grade boundaries were higher in June than they were in January.

It said, however, that January’s GCSE English exams were “graded generously” but the June boundaries were properly set and candidates’ work properly graded. It has offered pupils the chance to resit exams in November.

Coun Blake said: “I am outraged that Ofqual have somehow reached the conclusion not to take adequate action to remedy this travesty. The option to offer a re-sit is absolutely unacceptable and totally misses the point. This is not an issue of standards it’s an issue of fairness in relation to work students have already completed.

“These young people who, if their GCSE papers had been submitted just six months earlier with the same mark would have been awarded a ‘C’ grade, but were given a ‘D’ because of changes to the grade boundaries.”

The Association of School and College Leaders has also dismissed the idea of making students resit examinations and warned it could still begin a legal challenge against grade boundary changes on the grounds that it had disadvantaged certain groups of students.

Ofqual chief regulator Glenys Stacey said: “The issue is not the June but the January boundaries.”

Ms Stacey said most candidates were waiting to take their exam in June and because it was a new English GCSE qualification, examiners could not rely so much on direct comparisons with the past.

As a result, she said grade boundaries were generously set for GCSEs in January.

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