Students will only be able to sit their A-levels in the summer after regulator Ofqual scrapped January exams, according to the Independent newspaper.
The move is reportedly designed to prevent pupils re-sitting exams to obtain higher marks - a culture critics say has led to grade inflation and a devaluing of the exam system.
Commenting on the formal legal challenge from a group of teaching unions, schools and councils to this year’s GCSE marking scandal, the head of the National Union of Teachers has said:
It is a dreadful shame that it has come to this.
The Education Secretary should have taken the lead from Wales and re-graded this year’s English GCSEs.
The NUT, as part of a coalition of other interested parties, has been left with no option but to try and redress through the courts the great injustice suffered this year by schools and pupils.
A group of teachers' unions, local councils and schools have formally issued High Court proceedings against the exam regulator Ofqual and exam boards AQA and Edexcel over this year's English GCSE exam.
Hundreds of schools saw a large fall in the numbers of pupils scoring at least a C in GCSE English this year, heads said today, as they warned that the fiasco could be repeated in the future.
There are "strong grounds to be fearful" that the problems seen this summer could happen again next year, not just in English, but other subjects as well, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said.
In an open letter, the union said that a quarter of secondary schools, around 750 in total, saw at least a 10% drop in the numbers of pupils achieving a C or better in GCSE English this year, and around a fifth, 600 schools, saw at least a 15% drop.
It also warned that the scandal had "far reaching implications", and could affect major education reforms, such as the Government's plans to replace GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate Certificate.
In the Beijing Olympics we got more gold medals than ever before, this year we got more gold medals than in Beijing. Has the standards changed? No.
People have worked harder, like we have in our school, with extra classes to make sure children do the best they can, they fulfil their potential and because we’re doing well somebody is saying, ‘well that’s not right, you can’t do that well’. That’s not fair and it needs to be put right.
- The row over the summer's GCSE English results broke out after it emerged that grading boundaries for GCSE English were altered between January and June.
- The grade boundaries for the GCSE English foundation paper were changed for a C award by 10 marks between the January 2012 and June 2012 exams.
- This change of boundary is unprecedented.
- In Lewisham 163 pupils have been left with D grades who, had they sat the exam in January, would have got a C. This is mirrored in every authority in the country.
- Overall, 63.9% of GCSE English exams were awarded at least a C, a 1.5% drop on the year before.
Some 180 students are part of an alliance that will today launch legal action over the changes to grade boundaries in English GCSEs.
More than 100 schools, 36 councils and seven professional bodies have formed the alliance to take legal action against regulators Ofqual, and exam bodies AQA and Edexcel.
They are calling for exam papers taken in June this year to be remarked, within the same boundaries as those taken in January.
Education Secretary Michael Gove told the Commons Education Committee that there are "lessons that need to be learned" from the GCSE grading row, but that the row underlines to him the need for reform.
Education Secretary Michael Gove told the Commons Education select committee that the GCSE grading row shows the need for reform. He said:
As this committee has identified, we have a problem with competing exam boards all seeking to offer the same qualification.
- New GCSE English syllabuses introduced with pupils sitting an exam and submitting two pieces of coursework (so-called 'controlled assessment') done under strict classroom supervision
- January: First students take GCSE exams via controlled assesment
- June: Majority of students complete GCSE English exams
- August 23: Proportion of GCSEs awarded grade C or above for the first time in history
- August 24: Teachers union urges Michael Gove to establish independent inquiry
- August 28: ASCL calls for students marked down in June to have grades reissued and based on January grade boundaries.
- August 31: Ofqual publishes report saying January's exams were "graded generously" and that June exams were properly graded.
- September 7: Schools unite to demand an inquiry