Schools missed exam targets after changes
Last updated at 12:43, Friday, 07 September 2012
Beacon Hill School in Aspatria has failed to meet its targets for GCSE grades because of changes to the exam marking system.
The school was one of five in Cumbria where fewer than 40 per cent of pupils achieved grades A*-C in five subjects including English and maths.
The school’s result of 31 per cent has been blamed on changes to English pass rate boundaries, which were raised by as much as 10 per cent for pupils sitting the exam this summer compared to those who took them in January.
Julie Richardson, headteacher, has appealed against the English grades and hopes the papers will be remarked.
She said the school’s small pupil roll made it one of the most affected in the whole of the UK.
It had only 30 students sitting this summer’s exams, meaning each child made up more than three per cent of its figures.
Ms Richardson said the school had expected 43 per cent of pupils to get five A*-C grades including maths and English but four pupils were downgraded, affecting the results by 12 per cent.
Fifty-five per cent of its pupils gained at least five A*-C grades across all subjects.
Ms Richardson added: “We are in communication with our unions and our MP as this arbitrary decision by the exam boards, to change the goalposts at the last minute, has affected the life chances of our students who had worked extremely hard and may not now be able to follow the career paths they had hoped for.”
Meanwhile, St Joseph’s School in Workington has appealed against English grades given to its 250 year 10 and 11 pupils.
Headteacher Tom Ryan last week described the debacle as an “absolute disgrace”.
He added; We simply can’t accept something like that. It’s patently unfair on the children.”
Cockermouth School has applied to have 80 students’ papers remarked.
Headteacher Geoff Walker said: “Quite a lot of students got what we expected them to do but we had 30 to 40 students who we think were affected, getting Ds rather than Cs.”
The school has been offered the chance for pupils to re-sit exams in November but, while this could be possible for students who have stayed on at sixth form, Mr Walker said it was unlikely to benefit those who had left the school.
He added: “I am very upset about how the system has worked and has hit some schools this year including ours. It’s outrageous that rules have been changed mid term.”
Netherhall School in Maryport has applied for four students’ exam papers to be remarked.
New headteacher Jonathan Johnson said: “It’s something that’s not going to go away. As schools all we can do it collectively make our views known.”
Chris McGrath, head of Workington’s Stainburn School, said he was still looking into whether to appeal.
No one from Southfield Technology College in Workington or Keswick School was available to comment.
First published at 11:49, Friday, 07 September 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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