Outrage over marking of GCSE papers

editorial image

THE headteacher of one of St Helens’ biggest schools says he was “outraged” at the inconsistent marking of last year’s English GCSE results, following the publication of the latest school league tables.

John Pout (pictured), principal at Rainhill High, said 49 pupils at his school had their English marks downgraded after Government officials ruled that the June papers should be marked more harshly.

Critically, some pupils were downgraded from a pass grade, a C, to a fail grade, a D - hitting pupils’ prospects and the school’s results alike.

Mr Pout said: “We are outraged for our students and are part of the national legal action to get this unfair moving of the grades reversed. We are expecting to hear the outcome at the end of the month.

“It is not fair or, in my opinion, legal. As a result, some of these students missed out on sixth form places, jobs and apprenticeships. It is about time politicians stopped playing politics with education and damaging students’ lives.”

Ian Young, headteacher at Rainford High, toasted his improving school’s fine result in the annual league tables - but agreed with Mr Pout about the grading of the English GCSEs.

He said: “Obviously our results are a positive reflection on the hard work of staff and students and an indication of the direction we are trying to take the school. As a relatively new principal, it’s nice to have something positive to work with.”

“But a number of schools have been affected by the English results. Luckily, only a few of our students suffered, but it’s more damaging if a C is downgraded to a D.

“This issue is not about league tables, it’s about young people and their futures. Hopefully there will be greater clarity and consistency from now on.”