Michael Gove opposes re-grading of disputed GCSE in Wales

Education Secretary, Michael Gove

Education Secretary, Michael Gove

Michael Gove has today opposed the Welsh decision by the education minister, Leighton Andrews of ruling out through ordering an independent inquiry into the GCSE English grading fiasco.

Mr. Gove today told the education select committee that the move was a ‘regrettable political intervention’ and a ‘terrible mistake’. He has further added that seeking to change the grades awarded to pupils this summer would create a ‘different sort of injustice’. He urged Mr. Andrews to ‘think again’ and review his decision of regarding the GCSE.

Hundreds of pupils in Wales – which holds delegated education powers – are expected to receive higher GCSE English grades after Mr. Andrews demanded their papers be regarded.

However, in England, Mr. Gove has refused to take any similar action. Mr. Gove has said he had “sympathy” for the thousands of teenagers given lower grades after an order from the exam watchdog Ofqual for tougher marking of papers taken in June.

This decision has sparked furious protests from head-teachers and parents and claims that the prospects of the young students have been unfairly damaged. Principal of The De La Salle Academy in Croxteth Liverpool, Patrick Ferguson has stated: “The awarding of lower grades has been unjust to our pupils and the decision to regrade Welsh pupils and refuse to do the same for candidates in England is a further injustice. This could have a life-changing impact upon our students and we are not prepared to stand by and watch it happen.”

He told MPs that the downgrading row was the result of a legitimate attempt by the exam regulator to ensure that standards in this summer’s exam were in line with those of previous years and that any re-grading would devalue and discredit the qualification.

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