Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
GCSEs: Concerns raised after drop in English passes
SERIOUS questions are being raised after schools across Oxfordshire saw English language GCSE passes drop by as much as 20 per cent.
Schools are asking for papers to be remarked or remoderated, and others launching investigations after scores of pupils who were expected to get C grades or higher were given D grades – affecting key performance measures, and college and university applications.
Chipping Norton School headteacher Simon Duffy said he was “extremely disappointed and angry” with the English language result.
He said: “Something is not right this year.
“There is a 13 per cent difference between our students in English literature and language.”
Eynsham’s Bartholomew School headteacher Andrew Hamilton said: “We have got 79 per cent of pupils getting Cs and above in science, 78 per cent in maths and 64 per cent in English language – English last year was 70 per cent plus.
“I’m fully tempted to send a third of them back to get a clear indication of where the discrepancies are.
“We have a whole range of students who have a lot more than five A* to Cs but have a D in English. I am frustrated for the children when they have done such a good job.”
St Gregory the Great School headteacher John Hussey said 50 pupils at the school had Ds in English, many of whom were predicted Cs and above.
He said: “This means we are at least ten per cent below what we anticipated as a record-breaking year for us.
“We’ve carefully built the curriculum to develop all of our students’ skills and abilities, so feel very disheartened by what has happened.”
Cheney School headteacher Jolie Kirby said marks for one English language unit on the AQA exam board’s paper were more than 25 per cent down on other modules.
She said: “We will be investigating it with the exam board. The English staff are highly skilled and we’re really concerned.”
The impact of English marking has meant that Oxford Academy has again failed to meet Government targets of 30 per cent achieving five A* to Cs including English and maths with just 26 per cent making the grade.
Headteacher Mike Reading said: “Although I have real anger for the impact it has had on the institution, I am devastated for those students where in all confidence they believed and we believed had done enough to secure a grade C.”
Several schools refused to provide statistics relating to the English language results until discrepancies were cleared up.
Exam boards AQA and Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR) yesterday stood by their results, with OCR saying it was “confident the right standards had been carried forward” and AQA saying there were procedures in place if schools were unhappy with their results.
A spokesman for regulator Ofqual said: “We are confident that standards have been maintained and that the grades awarded are right.”
Oxfordshire County Council schools education cabinet member Melinda Tilley said: “A lot of the schools are going to have re-marks.
“I think we have to wait and see what the outcome is.”