Heads file FoI request in GCSE grading fight, but Ofqual insists there is nothing more to publish

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Headteachers seeking justice for pupils who were down-graded in this year's GCSE English marking fiasco have issued Freedom of Information (FoI) requests in a bid to force the exams watchdog to disclose further details of its inquiry into the controversy.

Headteachers seeking justice for pupils who were down-graded in this year’s GCSE English marking fiasco have issued Freedom of Information (FoI) requests in a bid to force the exams watchdog to disclose further details of its inquiry into the controversy.

The school leaders, led by Kenny Frederick, head of George Green’s School in London, have written to Glenys Stacey, the chief executive of Ofqual, twice in recent weeks, asking her to publish transcripts from interviews carried out with 100 or so affected schools as part of the investigation.

They believe that not all of the findings of the £150,000 inquiry – carried out by business consultant Capgemini on behalf of Ofqual – have been published and that information that may exonerate schools accused of over-generous marking has been withheld.

It comes as it emerged that hundreds of students may miss out on university places next year because of Ofqual’s decision last week not to publish grades for January’s English GCSE exams  until the summer. Read the full story here.

Ms Frederick said this week that heads had lost confidence in Ofqual’s ability to oversee the examinations system and that they simply did not believe the findings of the investigation into last summer’s English marking controversy.

The FoI request was prompted by a letter from Ms Stacey, who maintained that repeated requests from the heads for transparency and further information were based on “a mistaken premise”.

The letter said: “We did not commission Capgemini to produce a separate report from us, but to contribute to ours, which they have done. What we did ask Capgemini to do was – anonymously and confidentially – interview individuals in schools. Interviewees were often from those schools who felt that they had not received the GCSE English results they had expected.

“We reported on their findings as part of the Ofqual report of November 2. The report of their findings runs to nearly 20 pages. It is an accurate reflection of the interviews carried out in schools. There is no other ‘Capgemini report’ to release. Nor are there unpublished transcripts to publish.”

Ms Frederick told SecEd: “I am now in contact with many headteachers, some of whom inform me that their interviews were carried out by telephone, rather than face-to-face. A lot of questions still need to be answered about why there are no transcripts.

“We have had no transparency in this process. Ofqual commissioned a £150,000 report and we do not believe we have seen all the conclusions. No-one believes that there are no transcripts and heads and teachers I have spoken to who were interviewed as part of the inquiry have said that their comments were not reflected in the final report.”

Elsewhere, the legal challenge over the down-grading of last summer’s GCSE English papers, being led by an alliance of local authorities, schools, heads, and students and parents, has been brought forward and is now due to begin on December 11.


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