Newham joins fight over GCSE grades

PUBLISHED: 16:10 03 October 2012 | UPDATED: 16:11 03 October 2012

Newham Council has joined a coalition to mount a legal challenge over the decision by the exam regulator and exam bodies to re-grade GCSE results.

It will be fighting for up to 150 pupils in the borough who had their GCSE English results re-graded in June without warning by AQA and Edexcel. The move was backed by the qualifications watchdog Ofqual.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, condemned the “casual disregard” shown by the “utterly unfair” decision.

Students were left in dismay after a decision was taken to adjust the ‘C’ grade boundary by 10 marks.

The coalition, which includes schools, councils and teaching bodies, wants the GCSE English exam papers taken in June this year re-graded in line with the papers taken by pupils in January this year.

A Pre-Action Letter, written in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review has been sent to Ofqual, AQA and Edexcel giving them seven days in which to respond.

If the letter is rejected then the group will start legal action based on two points of law: fairness and failure to consult.

The failure to inform meant students were denied the opportunity to change their exam preparation.

The letter states: “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.”

Five schools from Newham have offered to pay £500 towards the legal costs of bringing the action.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “This is utterly unfair on our young people who worked so hard. This arbitrary decision, implemented with casual disregard for the consequences, has major implications for them. They should not have to pay the price for the failure of others.”

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