Heads’ anger over results

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HEADTEACHERS have slammed exam boards for “deliberately manipulating” GCSE results and putting pupil’s futures in jeopardy.

There has been widespread criticism of the way this summer’s GCSE English exams were graded – with pupils who sat exams in June awarded lower grades than pupils in January after grade boundaries were changed.

Exams regulator Ofqual has admitted boundaries were altered but has refused to order exam boards to regrade this summer’s GCSEs, although pupils in Wales could see their papers from Welsh exam board WJEC regraded.

And that has left Barbara Lund, headteacher at Blackpool’s Unity College, furious.

The Warbreck Hill Road school uses the WJEC board, and Mrs Lund said: “This further highlights the injustice of how this year’s English results have been deliberately manipulated negatively for significant numbers of young people locally.

“As a school, Unity College students sat the same Welsh board WJEC English examination as students in Wales. These young people, due to the intervention of the Welsh Minister for Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews, will have their results potentially regraded, while students in England will not.

“I cannot see how by virtue of which country you live in, your examination results may go up or down.

“As a school our overall results have improved significantly year on year but if it wasn’t for the downgrading of the English GCSE results they would have improved even more.”

MPs on the Education Select Committee are currently investigating whether grades were manipulated downwards.

It has now been revealed Ofqual contacted one exam board just two weeks before GCSE results were published and asked it to move its grade boundaries.

Dan Berry, headteacher at St George’s High School, in Marton, believes around 10 of the school’s Year 11 pupils were affected by the changes.

He said: “We still had results above the national average so we were quite pleased, but I do feel its had a negative effect on some of the pupils.

“When you look at some of those pupils who got a D instead of a C and didn’t get into college, that is the real impact (of the changes).

“These are life-changing results for some of these young people and the consequences could be significant.”