Council lines up alongside pupils and schools to fight for fairness in the High Court
Bedford Borough Council, along with pupils, schools,
professional teaching bodies and other local authorities from
across the country have been fighting for fairness in the High
Court over the GCSE English grading fiasco which affected local
young people this year.
In a three day hearing, lawyers for the alliance argued that
Ofqual and exam boards AQA and Edexcel have been guilty of a
'statistical fix' which has harmed the prospects of many thousands
of young people across the country.
The alliance is asking the High Court to declare unlawful the
decision taken by Ofqual and the exam boards to increase grade
boundaries dramatically for GCSE English between the January and
June sittings, despite there being no corresponding change in the
difficulty of the papers. In one AQA exam paper, for example,
the mark needed to achieve a C rose from 43 to 53 marks out of 80
from January to June, yet there was no change whatsoever in the
difficulty of the paper.
The statement of claim says: "The decisions have prejudiced the
life chances of thousands of children. The immediate effects of the
decisions include children being unable to progress in education,
losing vocational opportunities and jobs and being unable to gain
"The children affected by the decisions were entitled to be
treated in a fair, consistent and rational manner by the
defendants. They were not."
Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "Bedford Borough Council joined this
legal action as we want to support our young people who have been
unfairly penalised by these crude, unjustifiable in-year changes to
GCSE grade boundaries.
“A strong case has been made in the High Court, and we hope
justice and common sense will prevail."
In Bedford Borough, 1,889 students took an English GCSE, of
which 417 were awarded a D grade.
A judgment is expected early in the New Year.