GCSE English verdict: Sense of injustice as students lose out

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Headteachers have expressed a sense of injustice after the High Court ruled against a re-grade in the GCSE fiasco.

Headteachers have expressed a sense of injustice after the High Court ruled against a re-grade in the GCSE fiasco.

School leaders have told SecEd that they are frustrated at the decision not to order a re-grade despite an apparent recognition by the High Court that students suffered unfairly.

Paul Scutt, head of Bishop Fox School in Somerset, said they were among those to suffer “damaged” English results. The school saw 57 per cent of students achieve an A* to C grade in English language last summer, compared to 74 per cent in English literature.

Mr Scutt told SecEd: “I do feel that the judicial review misses the key point which is about ‘justice’. I despair that we can have arrived at a point where we conclude that the ‘right’ thing to do is to treat children differently in order to ‘protect and sustain’ the system.”

Melvyn Roffe, principal at Wymondham College in Norfolk, said: “The disappointing thing is that the High Court seems to be saying that notional standards based on the analysis of cohorts of thousands of students are more important than ensuring that each individual student gets the grade that describes their actual performance.”

He added: “I used to think that the purpose of the exam system was to recognise what students can do.”

Meanwhile, blogger Geoff Barton, head of King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, echoed these views.

“It seems to me extraordinary that the judges have agreed that some students were unfairly graded, but have not agreed that something should have been done about a woeful situation. “

Elsewhere, Mike Griffiths, head at Northampton School for Boys, called on universities and employers not to forget why some students’ results were lower in 2012.

He said: “On behalf of the wronged students I just feel gutted. It leaves the whole system discredited.

“In a world of unfairnesses this may not rank highly, but to those students it really matters.

“I just hope that universities and employers for years to come will remember 2012 as the summer whose English language results were so unreliable and not penalise students twice for errors beyond their control.”

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