Norwich Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 14°C

Headteachers’ concerns over Norfolk students’ reaction to court ruling

PUBLISHED: 12:28 14 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:28 14 February 2013

Headteachers said Norfolk students affected by last summer’s English GCSE fiasco would struggle to understand a court ruling yesterday which dismissed a legal challenge by pupils, schools and unions at the same time as admitting learners had been treated unfairly.

A High Court judge agreed that students assessed in June 2012 “were to some extent subject to tougher assessments than their January counterparts”.

But Lord Justice Elias, who was sitting with Mrs Justice Sharp, said exam boards and regulator Ofqual had not acted illegally.

Dismissing a bid for a judicial review, the judge said: “I am satisfied that it was indeed the structure of the qualification itself which is the source of such unfairness as has been demonstrated in this case and not any unlawful action by either Ofqual or the AOs [exam boards].”

Last night Norfolk headteachers said the ruling was a “bitter blow” for the many students affected.

Jon Platten, principal at the Open Academy, in Norwich, said: “Unfair but not illegal is quite a difficult message for the young people who have been affected by this. It will affect them for a very long time – if not for the rest of their lives.”

The legal action had been brought by an alliance of pupils, schools, local councils and teaching unions from across the UK following the publication of GCSE results last August when many students found they had missed out on an all-important C-grade in English.

Exam boards later admitted they had moved grade boundaries on a controlled assessment between January and June. But yesterday’s court ruling decided Ofqual had acted in order to maintain “the currency of the qualification” which Lord Justice Elias decided was “legitimate justification” for the unfairness.

Notre Dame High School in Norwich saw its results significantly affected by the grade boundary change.

Headteacher Brian Conway, who was disappointed with the ruling, said the experience had made him nervous about the exams this year and was putting students in for English in January and June to allow for retakes.

“I feel we were forced into that. I feel we have to give our students the best chance,” he said.


  • Good grief, Mr. Cameron, that's some conspiracy theory you've concocted there. Are you able to supply any substance to your allegations that the Government 'manipulated' results through Ofqual, a politically independent board? The real issue appears to be that by raising the boundaries, many students who were expected to get a C grade fell into the 'fail area' of a D grade. So, what I would be more interested to know is why so many schools appear to be teaching our kids to 'just scrape through' for a C grade, thus leaving very little or no room for error. Is this the general tactics for schools in East Anglia, because we seem to be complaining more than most over this issue? Particularly Suffolk who'ev used this as their excuse for why they are now in the bottom ten authorities in England for educational achievement.

    Report this comment


    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • So let's remind ourselves of what really happened. Boards get the squeeze from Ofqual to penalise hard-working students in order to lay the groundwork for Gove's triumphant solution to the decline which the conspirators have artificially created; a solution on which he ultimately does a whopping u-turn. In the final analysis of this sorry episode, the unfortunate students had their grades unfairly manipulated downwards for absolutely nothing. It was a perversion of the education system of this country for trivial political ends, and is but one more stain on the already atrocious record of this perfidious government.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most Commented

Show Job Lists