Opinion Former Article

NUT: GCSE results – Michael Gove cannot continue to stand on sidelines

Commenting on the GCSE results fiasco, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union: said:

“Almost a week has passed since the publication of the GCSE results and the controversy that arose from changed grade boundaries, but so far the Education Secretary has not responded adequately to the situation.

“The only immediate way of putting right the injustice faced by so many students, teachers and schools is that this summer’s exams should be re-graded, not remarked using the same criteria applied in assessing the work of January entrants. This alongside an independent inquiry would be an important step to begin to address the deep sense of mistrust that is developing between teachers and Government. Michael Gove cannot continue to stand on the sidelines when so many have been affected by an education system which he presides over”.

“Between January and June exam boards changed the grade boundaries in such a way that many pupils who would have scored a C in January scored a D in June - for exactly the same work. This change was not explained and has disadvantaged many thousands of pupils and their schools. Michael Gove should immediately announce an independent enquiry into how this was allowed to happen.

“There has been  considerable speculation that the interaction between the Education Secretary’s well publicised concerns about so-called "grade inflation" together with his intention to rationalise the number of exam boards has led to some of the exam boards acting in this damaging way.

“There is further speculation that Michael Gove’s desire to turn all of England's secondary schools into academies underlies his decision to increase the floor target  from 35% to 40%  of pupils achieving 5 A* to C GSCE grades. If classified as ‘failing’, schools will of course be more threatened with forced academisation by private sponsors.

“This speculation that education is now increasingly a political football is extremely corrosive to teachers trust in the Government's handling of the education system. We welcome the fact that Ofqual has recognised that there are serious concerns over this years GCSEs and are looking into the situation. This however is just not good enough. Teachers and pupils trust in the system is so knocked what is needed is an entirely independent review.

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For further information contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061

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