John calls on Government to remark GCSE papers

YOUNG people in Rotherham and Barnsley are being denied opportunities because of English GCSE downgrading, an MP has told the Education Secretary.

John Healey has written to Michael Gove, telling him while some students in the constituency are in the early weeks of new courses, others have been unable to start college, get an apprenticeship or job because grade boundaries were moved.

John said in the letter: “In many cases, students have been awarded a D when they and their schools – rightly – expected a C.

“This is the very boundary that is the stop-go for other opportunities. This grade can open or close doors to employment and education, now and in the future.”

In Rotherham, 70 pupils have been affected while in Barnsley 187 students – more than one in 20 – achieved four or more GCSEs at A*-C including maths but were awarded a D in English.

The letter went on: “It is grossly unfair that students who sat GCSE exams in summer 2012 received a lower grade than their counterparts who took it in January, when they received identical marks. It also undermines confidence in the exam system.

“Your Government’s education policy is increasingly elitist and driven by a narrow concern for those at the top of the social or educational pile.

“Those students working hard and achieving good grades should not be overlooked, as you are doing by refusing to ensure they’re treated fairly.”

The Wentworth and Dearne MP has asked for all GCSE English exams taken in England to be remarked and regraded, and for the Government to launch an independent inquiry.