GCSE grade change 'stopped boy getting apprenticeship'
A HEADTEACHER says a pupil has been told he cannot start an apprenticeship as a result of changes in the way GCSEs have been graded.
Sue Hollister, head teacher of Cefn Hengoed Community School, said the experience of the former pupil was just one example of how young people have lost out following the row over GCSE students being awarded lower grades than expected.
Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews said hundreds of pupils had been the victims of an "injustice" after exam boards changed their grading systems earlier this year.
And Ms Hollister says her staff, who work with moderator AQA, are still dealing with the fall-out.
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She said: "It affects hundreds of Welsh pupils here in our little corner of Swansea, for example. Last summer's lovely Year 11 pupils, who worked so hard for the great results they achieved, are returning from the colleges to seek our advice on resits as it affects their ability to register for AS courses. I have even heard of a former pupil who cannot start his apprenticeship due to getting a D instead of a predicted C.
"Paradoxically, one of our pupils missed a grade C by one mark according to the summer AQA gradings yet achieved grade A in history and RE, both subjects which require and demonstrate a significant ability to read and write to a complex level to deliver such high grades.
"This is all about young people, their hopes and dreams and also the confidence they are having eroded by a system in which they had placed their trust.
"As a parent myself, I feel for their parents and empathise with their worry and would want to reassure them that we are doing all we can to make our case and fight for what we believe was rightly theirs to achieve.
"The bottom line is there were 15 marks' difference in what you needed to get a C in January or last summer to what you need this summer. And that is unjust."
The Welsh Government is the exam regulator for Wales, while in England exams are regulated by Ofqual.
Ofqual acknowledged grade boundaries had changed part way through the year, but stood by the new June grading system.
Mr Andrews has said he wanted GCSE English papers regraded after publishing the findings of a review by regulatory officials, putting him at loggerheads with his Westminster counterpart Michael Gove.