Schools back Brent Council’s decision to challenge GCSE results

Hundreds of students believed to be affected by the controversial changes

Schools which fell foul of controversial changes to grade boundaries in this summer’s GCSEs have backed a Brent Council decision to seek legal action to have exams remarked.

Hundreds of students in the borough were believed to be affected by the changes which saw many students left with D grades, despite being predicted a C.

In addition, the Department for Education DfE also announced that schools which failed to meet an increased standard of 40 per cent A*-C grades could face closure or be switched to academy status.

The council announced last week that it was seeking a judicial review into the altering of grade boundaries.

Cllr Mary Arnold, lead member for children and families at Brent Council, said: “To do this was very disrespectful to our students and teachers.

“The government is more interested in sticking to its elitist ideals and raising the required standards, without working with the people who know best.”

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Newman Catholic College, in Harlesden Road, Harlesden, was one of the schools which fell below the government’s threshold, following changes to some results.

Richard Kolka, head teacher, who previously said that the school could be forced into an academy, backed the campaign.

He said: “We support the action fully. Lots of pupils should have got C’s and ended up getting D’s, I think any school whose results have been affected would want answers.

“It sends a very strong message because young people have had their chances of success affected, by arbitrary and needless changes.”

Martin Francis, a former head teacher at Park Lane Primary School in Wembley, said regardless of the result of legal action, steps must be taken to avoid academy conversion.

He said: “The government does have the powers to force academy status, and I fear it could be in the offing here.”

Academy status often attracts controversy as it results in schools breaking away from local authority control.

The Crest Boys Academy in Neasden was also badly affected with only 33 per cent of pupils hitting the A*-C benchmark while at Preston Manor All-through Foundation School in Wembley and Capital City Academy in Willesden, numerous pupils were also marked down.

Ofqual, the regulator for examinations and assessments in England, who were responsible for the changes, confirmed they had received correspondence about proposed legal action.

A spokesman added: “The matter is now in the hands of our lawyers and we will respond in due course.

‘‘We cannot comment further at this time.”