Principal hits out over exam board ‘meddling’

Honiton Community College to contest English results.

The principal of Honiton Community has hit out at exam boards for altering marking boundaries without warning. English results have dropped by an average of around 10 per cent.

Glenn Smith has raised serious concerns over this year’s GCSE results in the core subject and believes the boundary between C and D grades has been changed.

This has put a dampener on the college’s GCSE success, which saw A* to C grades increase by 15 per cent and A* grades double from those achieved last year.

Mr Smith said: “It appears the boundary between a C and D grade has been moved in a year. Many Devon headteachers have experienced the same problem.

“Given that GCSE Language is down across four exam boards by around an average of 10 per cent, in at least 20 of Devon’s Secondary schools so far and also in schools across the country, it seems that orders have gone out from on high to raise the C and D grade boundary.”

He added: “Headteachers find it beyond belief that this should happen without any warning.

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“Students have been given estimated grades based on exam board criteria which turn out to be far too ambitious.

“To put this issue into perspective, a student who took the summer paper and got a D grade could have achieved a C grade, with the same marks, if they had sat the autumn paper - this is preposterous that boundaries can be changed in a year.

“It is bad enough it happens from year to year. For Honiton, it means that our main national indicator of A* to C grades, including English and Maths, is down about 10 per cent on expectations.

“I understand this will impact all schools in an equal fashion. More to the point, about 15 of our students, and proportional numbers in all schools, will have to reconsider their options as a consequence of this meddling.

“We should not be allowed to play with our young people’s lives in this manner – our students are not pawns in a political game.”

Mr Smith has already written to local MP Neil Parish to raise these concerns and the college will be contesting the results.

He said: “Despite the issue with English results I would like to thank all my staff for their hard work and dedication.

“Each year the pressures on staff and the expectations of students increase and each year we manage to rise to the challenge.

“I would also like to thank governors, parents and carers, and the local community for your continued support throughout last year.”

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