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Headteachers slam GCSE grade changes as "wholly wrong"
6:00pm Wednesday 29th August 2012 in News
HEADTEACHERS across the Stourbridge area have slammed the changes to the grading of this year’s GCSE English exam as “wholly wrong”.
Many schools have celebrated good to best-ever results - with 80.8 per cent of pupils in the borough gaining five or more GCSES at grades A* to C and 58.5 per cent achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.
But a number of youngsters expecting to gain a C in English have been left with D grades due to last-minute changes to the marking system.
The Wordsley School is trumpeting its “best-ever results in the history of the school” with 64 per cent of youngsters walking away with five GCSEs at grades A* to C and 51 per cent gaining A* to C grades including English and maths.
But headteacher Mike Lambert has blasted the marking down of GCSE English students as a result of new education policies as “shameful”.
He said: “The manipulation of the English results by the exam boards in order to please the government has had a very negative impact on a number of Dudley schools.”
But he added: “We were not significantly affected because we have an outstanding English department team.”
Ridgewood High School in Wollaston also celebrated record results with 72 per cent of pupils gaining five GCSEs at A* to C level but the number of youngsters gaining five A* to C passes including English and maths fell slightly this year to 52 per cent.
Headteacher Clive Nutting said: “Up to ten per cent of our students have gained five good grades including maths, and a mark in English that would have earned a grade C back in January but a grade D now.
“No notice had been received from exam boards that this change was to happen and it seems wholly wrong that the efforts and achievements of young people should be subject to political pressure and interference in this way.”
At Summerhill in Kingswinford 82 per cent of students picked up high level GCSEs while 74 per cent achieved five A* to C grades including English and maths.
Headteacher Ben Warren said: “We're pleased with the results and all the hard work put in by staff and students to achieve them, but the annual exam result figure is only part of the picture of what makes a great school.”
Councillor Tim Crumpton, Dudley’s cabinet member for children’s services, said borough schools were this week investigating individual results amid the controversial changes to the marking system - which are being blamed on government education secretary Michael Gove’s new directives.
Cllr Crumpton added: “I find it appalling that this year’s GCSE results across the country are shrouded in so much controversy.
“There may be a great many appeals in the offing. In Dudley we are working closely with the schools and helping as much as we can.
“If it is proved that Gove and his Daily Mail/Telegraph cohorts have changed goalposts to the extent that they aren’t on the same pitch then he should be sacked. If we get firm evidence we will take this issue up at a national level.”
The Labour cllr said he has never believed qualifications have been handed out “like Smarties” adding: “I have personally seen how hard our teachers work to give them an education that we should be proud of.
“My thoughts are with all the young people who have worked so hard and who, in many cases, will have broad smiles on their faces as we have had tremendous successes across the borough.
“My heart however goes out to anyone who has had an unmerited disappointment.”
Other school results: Crestwood in Kingswinford - 99 per cent of pupils achieved five GCSEs at A* to C grades (65 per cent - including English and maths); Kingswinford Academy - 88 per cent (70 per cent); Pedmore Technology College - 86 per cent (43 per cent); Redhill in Stourbridge - 88 per cent (77 per cent); Thorns in Quarry Bank - 69 per cent (54 per cent); Edgecliff High School in Kinver - (68 per cent); Haybridge High School in Hagley - 99.4 per cent (89 per cent); Hagley Catholic High School - 8.1 per cent (80.4 per cent); Old Swinford Hospital School in Stourbridge - 91.2 per cent (81.3 per cent).