Published: 07/10/2012 12:00 - Updated: 05/10/2012 15:54

Authority gives support to calls for exam review

Councillor Mark Versallion
Councillor Mark Versallion

Central Bedfordshire Council has joined calls for a judicial review of the grading of this summer’s GCSE English exams.

The authority is among a consortium of councils, schools, students and other groups collectively taking a legal challenge against examinations regulator Ofqual and exam boards AQA and Edexcel over the decision to increase the Grade C boundary in the GCSE foundation paper by ten marks between January and June.

The group is calling for GCSE English exam papers taken in June to be regraded in line with the papers taken by their fellow pupils in January.

A pre-action letter delivered on behalf of the consortium said: “It is inconceivable that two cohorts of students enrolled for the same course in the same academic year, who have undertaken the same work and invested the same effort, and who will be competing in future for the same opportunities, should be subjected to such radically different standards of assessment and award.”

Cental Bedfordshire councillor Mark Versallion (pictured) said: “It is simply wrong and unjust that hundreds of hard working pupils in Central Bedfordshire and elsewhere received lower grades in the June exam than their peers who either sat the exam six months earlier, or sat a paper issued by another exam board.

“The difference between a C and a D grade can have major implications for young people as they move through the education system, or for school leavers as they take their first steps into employment or pursue further training.”

A spokesman from Luton Borough Council, which at present is not part of the group, said: “The council is considering joining the consortium and we are currently taking soundings from local schools.”

Last week, Luton MPs Gavin Shuker and Kelvin Hopkins held a meeting with secondary school headteachers to discuss how the controversial GCSE results have affected them.

Speaking after the discussion, Mr Shuker said: “Not only has this fiasco left young people uncertain about their abilities, but along with that, parents are frustrated at the system, teachers unsure of their judgement and schools won’t get the credit they deserve.

“It is a sorry state of affairs for many in Luton and across England.”

A spokesman from Luton Sixth Form College confirmed it has had to create three extra GCSE English classes as a result of more students not having a Grade C, but wanting to continue in further education.

The college now provides 15 classes, with each being taught for three hours per week.

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