Sep 6 2012 by Caitlin Black, Harrow Observer
THE council is backing calls for a re-mark of GCSE exam papers, despite the borough’s students scoring record-breaking results.
The National Association of Head Teachers and Association of Directors of Children’s Services have asked for an independent inquiry into the marking of this year’s English literature GCSE because a new system raised the grade boundary, meaning many students who were predicted passes missed out on a ‘C’ grade.
Harrow’s Labour-controlled council is backing the call for the papers to be reassessed, despite pupils achieving an all-time high of 84 per cent of A* to C grades, up from last year’s 82 per cent.
Portfolio holder for children, schools and families at Harrow Council, Brian Gate, said: “Our students and schools have bucked the downward trend by sustaining their excellent results, but we still support the call for a re-check because we believe in fairness for all students. We owe it to our schools to have a level playing field for all.
“I am personally very proud of the hard work being done at all of our local schools and academies, it is certainly paying off.”
Ofqual, the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England, has stated the grade boundaries were fairly applied in the summer but schools may still challenge the way papers were marked and may offer re-sits.
Headteacher of Hatch End High School, Sue Maguire, said: “While we were very pleased with our English results at Hatch End this year, with excellent results and outstanding progress made by students, there is no doubt that the national situation raises serious questions which need to be addressed fully by both Ofqual and the examination boards.
“Our young people need to know that we live in a fair and just society where hard work and dedication is rewarded and if any of them have been discriminated against when they should not have been, this needs to be rectified speedily.”
The National Association of Head Teachers has written to education secretary, Michael Gove, asking for an independent inquiry into the results following calls from members.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services, which represents local authority officials, also called on his department to investigate.
A Brent Council spokesman said: “Brent Council is very concerned about the situation around this year’s English GCSE results. We are supporting schools to identify where specific challenges to the exam boards may be successful and are prepared to work with other councils in a wider, concerted approach if this would help our schools.”