North East schools consider legal action over GCSE grades

Lord Lawson School
Schools are considering legal action over lower GCSE grades Photo: ITV Tyne Tees

A number of schools across the North East are considering teaming up with unions to take exam boards to court over GCSE grading.

In August the proportion of GCSE students gaining good passes fell for the first time in the exam's history. In particular, many English students who were expecting to pass found they had been awarded a 'D' grade instead.

The exam regulator Ofqual said grades had to be lowered to prevent a steep inflation in the number of pupils achieving good grades.

Some schools were hoping that the decision would be questioned through an independent inquiry, but today the Education Secretary said he did not think one was necessary.

Michael Gove said: "Because Ofqual is an independent regulator, and because the Ofqual regulator specifically said to this committee that it was her job to reign in grade inflation...I think it would be quite wrong for me to second guess that decision."

Ofqual has said it will not change the summer's English grades, but that pupils can resit and also appeal against their grade allocation. But the Association of School and College leaders will consider whether to query that decision legally.

One GCSE student, Shannon, said: "Obviously I was expecting a really good grade to come out and then when I did see I actually got a D, I was really gutted. I actually cried."

The principal of Lord Lawson Academy in Gateshead said that it was not 'fair' for exam boards to change grade boundaries halfway through the year.

David Grigg said: "Students took an English examination in January, they were given a grade for certain elements of that work, and they were assured that was a 'C' grade."

"The grades for exactly the same pieces of work then changed in June, so exactly the same piece of work has been graded twice."