Ipswich: Headteachers demand investigation into GCSE English results downturn

THE results are wrong. That was the message from head of Westbourne Sports College, Chris Edwards, as he told of his anger after a row erupted over the grade boundaries in English exams.

WHILE many students were celebrating their grades, a number of headteachers opted against releasing statistics until an investigation has been launched into the saga.

Westbourne Sports College and Ipswich Academy decided not to publicise their official figures yesterday.

Kesgrave, St Albans and Claydon have all launched appeals.

Mr Edwards told The Star that while students were celebrating another year of “pleasing results”, he believed the “inexplicable decline” in English results was an example of the government failing to consider this year’s GCSE pupils.

Maths results at the college were the highest students there have ever achieved.

“We know our students and staff have worked hard to achieve better results than they have achieved,” he said. “Whether this decline in results in just one subject is a result of political interference or errors by the exam boards or Ofqual is unclear. What is clear is the results are simply wrong.

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“It simply isn’t fair on the students, they are the ones suffering here. I believe that our students deserve an explanation of what has gone wrong and deserve that explanation quickly.”

Nancy Robinson, of Ipswich Academy, said the Learning School’s Trust was in discussion with the exam board and had requested a review.

She said: “What I can say, however, is that we have made good progress in most areas particularly Maths and ICT. We are very proud of all our students and staff who have worked extremely hard.”

Dennis McGarry, headteacher at St Albans High School, said the issue had meant the school’s percentage of A* to C grades including English and maths was ten per cent lower than predicted. The school achieved 60pc but had expected 70pc.

He said: “There has been a mysterious downturn in our English results and we are looking into the reasons for this.

“This has had an impact on the majority of students on the C/D borderline. Students within the upper grade boundaries do not seem to be affected by this.

“There have been some excellent individual performances. All other subjects have either met or surpassed their predictions.”

It was a similar story at Kesgrave High School, with English results down 10pc. The school achieved 65pc A* to C, including English and maths.

Headteacher Nigel Burgoyne said: “English results are 10pc down on the previous ten years, and we will be appealing with the exam board, as we sense an injustice.

“Our Year 11s this year have achieved well across the ability range and will be in an excellent position to take their next step, whether that be sixth form, college, apprenticeship or employment.”

This year’s national results show that in the English GCSE, 63.9pc of entries got at least a C, compared to 65.4pc last summer. Meanwhile 15pc were awarded an A or A*, down from 16.8pc in 2011.

Has your son or daughter been affected? E-mail: starletters@archant.co.uk

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