Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Do All We Can for Our Students; Headteacher's Vow after Exam Grade Changes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Do All We Can for Our Students; Headteacher's Vow after Exam Grade Changes

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty

A TOP North East headteacher has vowed to join the fight to help students who were marked down in their English GCSEs after exam boards changed the grade boundaries.

David Grigg, head at Lord Lawson of Beamish Community School in Birtley, Gateshead, has told of his anger after thousands of teenagers across the country failed to achieve the grades they expected because of a shock change to marking.

The exams regulator, Ofqual, will this week begin its investigation into GCSE gradings after admitting there were questions to be asked about how grade boundaries were set in a very small number of units across the year.

The urgent review comes amid threats of legal action from local authorities and teachers.

Mr Grigg, who is a member of the Association of School and College Leaders' (ASCL) executive, said at least 12 of his students had been directly affected.

And he told the Journal that he and his fellow ASCL members planned to do everything possible to put things right.

"These students have been penalised by a totally arbitrary change," he said.

"This could have serious ramifications for their future. English is the most important subject. We will be doing everything we can. We will be asking for a remark for our students.

"And next week I will be meeting with the ASCL executive, and there is a possibility we will take legal action."

It was revealed this week that the proportion of GCSEs -taken by pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - awarded an A*-C grade had fallen for the first time in 24 years.

Mr Grigg said that the mark required to achieve a C grade had risen unexpectedly between January and June, meaning that students that had completed coursework at the beginning of the year marked as a C ended up coming out with a D grade when they picked up their results on Thursday.

He said: "The grade boundaries changed between the January and the summer exam. Some students had held onto their coursework and assumed it had a C grade, but after they changed the boundaries they were two or three marks short of what they needed for a C. …

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