Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex: Teachers slam Government ‘tinkering’ for affecting GCSE results

Elizabeth Adams and Charlotte Levine received their GSCE results at Clacton County High School on Thursday August 21.

Elizabeth Adams and Charlotte Levine received their GSCE results at Clacton County High School on Thursday August 21.

Students across north Essex got their GCSE results yesterday, but some teachers slammed Whitehall interference in the exam system.


A number of schools in the county celebrated an improvement in their overall results in line with the national picture.

However education leaders hit out at Government “tinkering” with GCSEs, saying it left students open to failure.

Nardeep Sharma, executive principal of the Outstanding-rated Colne Community School and College in Brightlingsea which saw 71% of pupils attain the national standard – up one per cent on last year – said: “Despite the Government raising the bar, changes in education policy, reduction in school funding and Government tinkering with exams, the school has remained on a highly positive trajectory.

“In the summer Ofqual warned of ‘volatility’ this year in the GCSE results which translates to widespread interference and instructions to the exam boards to arrive at the pass percentage Ofqual had already decided on.

“Inevitably widespread concerns are being expressed by Essex schools about their results. Some schools have fared well depending on whether they took certain types of exams and cashed in the results early.

“However, large numbers of schools in Essex and in other counties are reporting significant drops in English, linear maths and some sciences. This has the effect of hitting a wide range of students but most significantly large numbers of middle ability students getting D grades instead of C grades, which they would have achieved with last year’s grade boundaries.

“Therefore we are looking at a significant number of schools with lower than expected five A*-C with English and maths percentages this year. I would appeal to governors to support their headteachers and schools who are in this situation and not have a knee jerk blame reaction.

“I feel that the Government should act swiftly to address the issues it has created in the interests of students across the country.”

Thurstable School, in Tiptree, saw a dip in the benchmark standard down to 47%, which it described as disappointing.

The poor results were attributed to a number of middle ability students on the C/D grade borderline in both English and maths who got Ds, in line with “volatility nationally” in that area.

A number of remarks and appeals are underway and the school hopes the overall level will rise, but pledged to work with those students who are staying on for sixth form to improve their standards.

Several headteachers commented on their relief that their school’s results had held up to the changes.

Barry Hersom, principal of the Colchester Academy, in Greenstead, also said the “large scale changes to the examination system have done our children no favours” as the school’s overall results were “disappointing”.

Mr Hersom said getting rid of the option to do modules early meant pupils’ confidence could not be built up with early exam success.

Essex County Council announced that 56% of the 15,000 students getting results achieved the national five or more A*-C grades including English and maths, in the new league table measure which excludes re-sits and equivalent marks from other qualifications.

Under the old standard 58% of pupils got the benchmark, up from 53.5% the previous year.

Ray Gooding, county councillor for education, said: “Congratulations to all who have collected their GCSE results today.

“I know an awful lot of hard work has been put in by pupils across the county and I am delighted their efforts have been rewarded. Whatever their plans I wish them all the very best of luck.

“I would also like to thank teachers, parents and carers for the invaluable support they have provided. Today’s results, achieved against a backdrop of exam system reform, represent a well-deserved achievement and I am very pleased for all involved.”



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

Organisers behind one of Suffolk’s largest annual events, Bury St Edmunds’ Christmas fayre, are hoping today’s drizzly weather won’t dampen spirits on the last day of the event.

Domestic violence reports increase

Domestic violence reports soared by 12% in Suffolk last year with more than 2,000 recorded incidents involving male victims, police have said.

The close-knit Smith family in 2006: Matt, Wendy, Nikki and Barry

It can be upsetting and lonely having a child with a disability, but Wendy Smith would rather shout about the many positives. Steven Russell hears how love and kindness trumps any anger and bitterness

Woman conned by bogus caller (Stock photo)

A Hadleigh woman who lost £2,500 in a police scam has warned others to be alert to the crime.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance

A man was air lifted to hospital with chest pains after he was involved in a two-vehicle crash in Essex.

Members of the nursing team at Ipswich Hospital.

Carers and visitors of people being looked after at Ipswich Hospital will next month be able to spend more time with patients as new extended visiting hours are introduced.

She was last seen in the area of Downside Close in Ipswich.

Concern is growing for a 49-year-old woman who has gone missing in Ipswich.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24