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Unions back teachers after Ofqual publishes exams report

02/11/2012 Joanna
Teaching unions have slammed a report which appeared to suggest that those in teaching jobs were to blame for the GCSE exam results fiasco.

This summer, many secondary pupils received lower-than-expected results as a result of the grade boundaries being shifted for those who sat their exams in the summer.

However, Ofqual, the exam regulator, has claimed that it was forced to up the grade requirements because some teachers had been "significantly" over-marking coursework papers as a consequence of the pressure to perform in league tables.

But Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said this claim was "outrageous".

"The accountability measures do place tremendous pressure on teachers and schools … but to say that teachers would compromise their integrity to the detriment of students is an insult," he said.

"The fact remains that different standards were applied to the exams in June and January and this is blatantly wrong."

He added that many schools were told that their marking had been "spot on" and had therefore been unfairly affected by the shift in the grade boundaries.

Mr Trobe's words were echoed by Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, who said that Ofqual needed to accept responsibility for the situation.

"Ofqual seems to be shifting the blame," she said. "The solution is to re-grade the exams of young people who, together with their teachers, worked to the parameters set in January."

The BBC was contacted by a number of people in education jobs who were also upset by Ofqual's stance.

Glenn Smith, principal of Honiton Community College in Devon, told the BBC that his school uses "stringent" methods to ensure fair marking and Philip Rush, deputy head teacher at St Peter's High School, Gloucester called for the comments to be withdrawn.  

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