Suffolk: Head Geoff Barton vows to continue fight over GCSE grades after ‘mo solution’ offered during meeting with Ofqual

A HEADTEACHER has vowed to continue his fight for Suffolk students disadvantaged by a shift in grade boundaries and “inconsistent marking”.

Geoff Barton, of King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, yesterday met with exam regulators Ofqual to discuss the GCSE English grading fiasco.

The meeting took place on the same day that schools, academies and unions joined forces to demand an independent inquiry into the situation.

Mr Barton, who has expressed concern that thousands of teenagers were unfairly penalised by the altering of grade boundaries in GCSE English between January and June, has repeatedly called for “swift action” to support schools and students affected.

But speaking after the two and half hour meeting at Ofqual’s Coventry-based headquarters, the headteacher said although the regulators had listened, no solution had been put on the table.

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Mr Barton added: “I was pleased in that I felt I could convey the sense of frustration and anger of colleagues and could also give examples of students being wrongly marked.

“Ofqual listened and kind of understood. But the frustrating thing was that although it is clear that there has been an injustice, there was no solution offered.”

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Mr Barton said the Ofqual team would also not say if their investigation had uncovered problems with the consistency of marking.

“Someone involved in the marking process has told me that the levels of rigour were not as scrupulous as they have been in the past. So, at least anecdotally, it seems that the quality of the marking was questionable,” he added.

“Schools across Suffolk have seen inconsistencies with the way that different elements of exams were marked. In some schools the controlled assessment would be marked down and in other schools the exam element was marked down.”

Mr Barton said the meeting had “strengthened” his resolve in making the case for the disadvantaged students.

Meanwhile an alliance of schools and teaching unions has declared it has “lost confidence” in Ofqual and does not feel the exams regulator should lead an investigation into itself.

The group has also launched a petition calling for the issue to be debated in Parliament.

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