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Head calls for more action in GCSE grades row
A HEADTEACHER in Worcester has called on the county council to join a national alliance seeking to bring High Court action over the refusal to regrade this summer’s GCSE English papers.
Sean Devlin, of Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, believes the council should join the group of 180 pupils, 113 schools, 36 local authorities and seven professional organisations, formed to demand regulator Ofqual orders the papers be regraded or face a High Court claim for a judicial review.
Worcestershire County Council says it had not yet made plans to join any such alliance, but had written to Education Minister Michael Gove and the Office of Qualification and Examinations Regulation.
About 300 pupils in Worcestershire, about five per cent, did not achieve the grade C or above predicted by their teachers, after a last- minute decision to raise the boundary in English in the summer.
Mr Devlin said the changes had badly affected at least eight pupils at the Timberdine Avenue school.
He said: “[The council] should be doing their utmost and talking to other local authorities about this. As headteachers, we’ve done what we can.
“[They are] just writing letters when other local authorities are being proactive: I really think they should be out there joining this alliance.”
Clive Corbett, headteacher at Pershore High School, said he had been led to believe the council would do all it could to help students.
“Whether or not that requires membership of the alliance is a decision for them, not me,” he said.
Writing to Mr Gove, Councillor Jane Potter – cabinet member for education and skills – said the variation in the number of C grades obtained this year compared with previous years was far greater than expected.
“While we support the principles of raising standards, we believe that the decision to change grade boundaries mid-year has led to an injustice for the June entrants. Ofqual’s investigation has done little to allay the concerns of headteachers,” she said.
She urged Mr Gove to undertake an independent review to ensure the pupils affected “are not disadvantaged through no fault of their own”.
Gail Quinton, director of children’s services at Worcestershire County Council, has written to Glenys Stacey, chief regulator of Ofqual, to urge her to “restore confidence” by reviewing the body’s position on the matter with “all possible haste”.