Camden Council joins campaign for GCSE re-grading

Camden is among dozens of local authorities mounting a legal challenge against Ofqual following the exam board’s refusal to regrade GCSE English papers from this summer.

The council, along with schools and teaching unions, have written to the exam regulator and exam boards AQA and Edexcel about seeking a judicial review.

They say thousands of pupils’ futures have been jeopardised after their exams were marked down this summer because Ofqual decided to raise grade boundaries.

Cllr Angela Mason, Camden cabinet member for children, said: “I feel that it’s vital that we support our schools and our young people with more than words.

“Joining with others who oppose the injustice of this year’s GCSE debacle has to be the right thing to do.”

Haringey Council is also considering taking action. It estimates that five per cent of pupils at local schools may have been affected.

A council spokeswoman said: “As champions of children we are taking this very seriously, especially the impact it could have on their future life chances.

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“Consequently, we have decided to join forces with other local authorities in considering calling for a judicial review into this matter.”

Headteachers have also supported the move by the councils.

Joan McVittie, headteacher of Woodside High School in Wood Green and former president of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “It’s totally unfair. I’m shocked that Ofqual regulators have the sheer gall to stand up and say some children are unlucky.

“GCSEs should not be about luck. They should be about fair outcomes following two years of hard work.”

Helen Anthony, headteacher of Fortismere School in Muswell Hill, which achieved some of the best GCSE results in Haringey, said: “I think it’s absolutely vital it’s challenged for a number of reasons.

“The students who are most disadvantaged are the students who have the odds stacked against them. Not having a C in English will dog these students for life. It’s chucking a wedge between the haves and the have-nots.”

Jo Armitage, headteacher of Acland Burghley School in Kentish Town, was one of seven Camden headteachers who signed a joint letter to education secretary Michael Gove condemning Ofqual’s decision to raise grade boundaries.

She said: “The GCSE English situation has impacted a significant number of students with the plans they made because it’s important to pass that exam.”

A spokesperson for Ofqual said: “We can confirm we have received correspondence about proposed legal action.

“The matter is now in the hands of our lawyers and we will respond in due course. We cannot comment further at this time.”