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Fowey head's stand on GCSE pass rates

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

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THE HEAD teacher of Fowey Community College has vowed to stand united with other school leaders to fight on the issue of this year's GCSE English grades.

Boundaries between grades were unexpectedly redefined between January's mock exams and GCSE sittings in June, leading to an unprecedented drop in students attaining their predicted grades.

Cornwall Council and CASH (Cornwall Association of Secondary Headteachers) voiced their discontent at the marking and called on exam boards' regulator Ofqual, and central government to take urgent steps to explain what has happened.

John Perry, head teacher of Fowey Community College and CHAPS member, said on results day that the 47 per cent A*-C English pass rate at his school did not correspond with predicted grades and coursework marks.

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"We owe it to our students to take it as far as we can and find a fair way forward," said Mr Perry.

"We got some brilliant results, and Year 10 students taking GCSEs early did exceptionally well, but we want all students to get the grades they deserve.

"I've been a teacher for 20 years and have seen nothing like this."

Mr Perry was critical of the Government's response to the national outcry, saying that it was "patently unfair" of Ofqual and Education Secretary Michael Gove to admit that mistakes had been made, yet offer no solutions for rectification.

His sentiments were echoed by Jane Black, chair of CASH, who expressed concern for pupils who had been affected.

She said: "Students on the borderline of C and D grades appear to be those most likely to be hit. Analysis by ASCL (the national Association of School and College Leaders) suggests that thousands of students nationally who would have attained a C grade in January were awarded grade D in the June examination series."

She described the situation as "wholly unjust".

Mr Perry was pleased to hear that schools would receive the backing of local authorities.

"I am feeling really well supported by CASH and by other head teachers," he said.

"It is a comfort to talk with colleagues in other schools, and good to know we're not in this alone."

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