Lawyers believe the fight for a judicial review over the English GCSE grading fiasco has a “ better than 50 per cent” chance of success, education leaders and teachers at a summit in Leeds have been told.
Leeds City Council hosted the event to keep the spotlight on a national campaign to get GCSEs regraded after it emerged that exam boards had moved their grade boundaries during the last academic year.
The authority’s executive member for children’s services, Coun Judith Blake, said yesterday that around 800 pupils in Leeds had been adversely affected by the situation.
Across the country campaigners believe more than 60,000 students were given a D grade in English in June when the same standard of work would have earned a C had it been assessed in January.
Leeds City Council is at the forefront of the legal challenge involving eight councils and more than 20 schools from Yorkshire.
The alliance has written to exam regulator Ofqual and exam boards AQA and EdExcel informing them of their intention to seek a judicial review.
Leeds City Council’s principal legal officer, Robert Brown, told the summit a meeting was being held today with counsel and that official papers were set to be sent to the courts next week. He said counsel’s initial opinion was that the challenge had “a reasonable chance of success”.
The national campaign was mounted after it emerged that the number of English exams being graded at C or above had fallen this summer and that exam boards had moved grade boundaries between January and June.
Speakers at yesterday’s summit at Leeds Town Hall all hit out at what happened to young people during this summer’s exams.
Mike Gibbons, the principal and chief executive of the private Grammar School at Leeds, described the moving of grade boundaries as “morally reprehensible”, adding: “It needs to be remedied and remedied swiftly.” However, he warned that schools and pupils needed more than just a legal victory which would allow them to “clear this hurdle and limp along to until we get to the next debacle”.
He called for major reform of the examinations sector.
“If schools are to be judged by their public exam performance and, for many, the funding that follows be determined by that performance then we have must have complete confidence in the probity of that process and clarity over the process of marking,” he said.