Unions back headteacher in GCSE grade challenge

Kenny Fredrick, George Green’s School principle. Pic: George Green’s School

Two headteacher unions are calling on their members to contest a change in GCSE English grade boundaries, with Kenny Fredrick, a Tower Hamlets head taking decisive action.

Last week, Frederick, principal of George Green’s School, published the positive feedback her school had received from examination board moderators.

The move challenges qualification regulator Ofqual’s claim that inappropriately generous marking by teachers led to the controversial grading decision.

In a statement yesterday, both the National Association of Head Teachers and The Association of School and College Leaders urged their combined membership of 45,000 to do the same.

An Ofqual report this month stated: “In summer 2012, strong evidence of teacher over-marking in controlled assessment, not corrected by moderation, meant that grade boundaries needed to be set at a higher level than in January, to deal with over-marking.”

In response, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said: “Ofqual suggested that it was correcting a fault caused by teachers, yet there appears to be little, if any, evidence that this was the case.”

Speaking to Eastlondonlines, Frederick said that the 19 students in her school who missed out on an expected D grade in English were the victims of a politically-motivated numbers game.

“The Education Secretary [Michael Gove] has been going on about grade inflation for years and you’ll notice he’s kept quiet recently – whereas as the Welsh Education Minister [Leighton Andrews] quickly called for regrading.

“We are dealing with individual young people and their lives, which are being affected by statistics. It’s blatantly unfair.

“Local people need to understand what’s happened here. Some parents may think that their children performed badly when, no, they didn’t.”

Frederick, who has been headteacher at George Green’s School for 16 years, was also critical of what she deemed the inadequate notice educational professionals were given of grading standard changes. “If you’re going to readjust the boundaries, you need to warn teachers and parents what’s happening.”

A three-day judicial review of the controversy will begin on 8 December when an alliance of 150 schools, 42 councils and six professional bodies, led by Lewisham Council, will make the case for a regrade.

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