Calling for GCSE English Language papers to be regraded
In the House of Commons today, I called on the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, to have this year’s GCSE English Language papers regraded following widespread concern from parents and teachers about the examination boards’ decision to change the grade boundaries halfway through the school year. My exchange with the Secretary of State can be read here.
Provisional results show the percentage of pupils gaining five or more A*-C grades including Maths and English was 62 per cent, maintaining the same result from last year, but many York schools saw a decline in their English results. City of York Council are analysing the results carefully before deciding what action to take.
I tabled a further question today asking Mr Gove to release copies of letters, emails and text messages and details of all telephone calls and meetings between Education Ministers and Ofqual about GCSE grade boundaries.
It’s great that York students have managed to maintain such good GCSE results. I congratulate them and their teachers, but if they had been properly assessed their results would have been even better. It’s unfair that two students doing the same work, to the same standard, can get different results because one took the exam in January and the other in May. It’s like raising the height of the hurdles halfway through a race.
The papers should be remarked under the criteria which applied when the students started their courses. The Minister says we should all learn lessons from this but he is not one of the thousands of young people whose dreams and career plans have been shattered by the decision to change the marking boundaries. The government need to realise what these results mean to young people. Their future plans depend on their GCSE results. They offer them the opportunity of being accepted into Further Education, getting an apprenticeship or securing employment.
The exams regulator, Ofqual, is holding an inquiry but it won’t report for months. If this summer’s exam papers are not regraded, some students will miss out unfairly on courses, apprenticeships and jobs.