Plymouth teachers "devastated" as court rejects bid to overturn GCSE grades
HEADTEACHERS have been left "disappointed" and staff are "devastated" following the High Court declining to overturn GCSE English exam results.
The High Court has not accepted a bid from school leaders, teachers' unions and local authorities, including Plymouth City Council, to change grade boundaries in last summer's GCSE English exams.
David Farmer, chair of Plymouth Learning Trust and headteacher of Plymstock School, said: "It's really disappointing. Teachers are devastated over the news. Students didn't get the grades they deserve and that will affect their futures."
Plymouth City Council joined a number of local authorities challenging the examinations regulator Ofqual and two GCSE English examination providers Edexcel and AQA over the June 2012 GCSE English results.
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The unprecedented legal action was submitted in October last year brought by an alliance of pupils, schools, councils and professional bodies led by Lewisham Council.
The challenge aimed for students' papers to be re-graded because the boundary for a grade C in GCSE English was raised between January and June this year.
This meant that the exam became much harder to pass for students who took it in June.
Councillor Nicky Williams, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "It was absolutely right that we were part of this legal battle, if only to show young people that it's important to stand up for what you believe in.
"Lord Justice Elias acknowledged that we were right to raise the judicial review.
"Our legal challenge was thorough and sought to demonstrate that the exam boards' decision to change the grade boundaries was the cause of the significant impact this had on thousands of young people's exam results.
"I'm extremely sad that young people in Plymouth won't now receive the grades they earned prior to the change of the grade boundary."
Steve Baker, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) branch secretary and principal of Lipson Community College, added: "No one will be held to account.
"Whilst accepting that many students were graded unfairly due to inconsistencies of treatment, Ofqual won on the grounds that grades need to be comparable year on year.
"This is a lengthy judgement running to some 70 pages. We can only hope that lessons have been learned by the Department For Education.
"Young people cannot and should not have their futures compromised by political expediency.
"Only then can we be confident in the Judge's optimism that the steps currently being undertaken will not lead to another fiasco."