Regrade calls grow as Welsh lead the way


Headteachers have renewed their calls for a remark of GCSEs in England as more than 2,000 students in Wales celebrate receiving an upgrade.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has called on Ofqual to follow the example of the Welsh government and “award fair grades to English students” in GCSE English papers. 

“What was already a manifestly unfair situation has become even more so after this regrade,” said Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT. 

“It beggars belief that identical marks now receive different final grades according to whether a student sat the exam in England or Wales.

“We congratulate the Welsh government on its decision to restore fairness to this shambles and call on Ofqual to follow suit.”

Mr Hobby added: “There is no reason to be suspicious of regraded results – these qualifications reflect the skills and abilities of young people and we are pleased the Welsh government has recognised this.”

Almost 2,400 students in Wales who sat the WJEC GCSE English exam have received higher grades after the Welsh government, acting as regulator, ordered a regrade, but this does not apply in England for young people who sat the WJEC exam.

The sense of injustice has been echoed by the Bishop of Oxford, The Rt Rev John Pritchard, who said the fiasco had caused “great distress to some of our most vulnerable pupils.”

Following the regrade in Wales 1,202 students had seen their summer scores rise from a D to a C grade and a further 598 students were awarded a B, having initially been awarded a C grade last month.

No grades went down as a result of the re-awarding process, with 39 more pupils in Wales receiving an A grade and 406 pupils obtaining an improved D grade.

Around 1,700 Welsh pupils sat their GCSE English language exam through England’s largest exam board AQA – but there are no plans to re-award their marks.

The Welsh government said only WJEC exams had been subject to a re-grade because there was “no clear evidence” to suggest AQA students had been disadvantaged.

Meanwhile, Ofqual has expressed “regret” for comments made before the recent House of Commons Education Select Committee hearing about the Welsh government’s decision to regrade GCSEs – but it has refused to apologise.

Ofqual chairwoman Amanda Spielman had suggested the regrade decision had been politically motivated, prompting Wales’s schools director Chris Tweedale to call for an “unqualified apology”.

In a letter to the Welsh government, Ofqual said Ms Spielman regretted “any offence caused”.


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