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Students to take English exams again

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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STUDENTS at schools across North Devon will be resitting English GCSE exams.

It follows an announcement that up to 45,000 students who took the exams in the last academic year will be allowed to do so.

There was anger earlier this year when a late change to the grade boundaries saw a number of pupils fall short of C grades – often used as the minimum entry requirement by Further Education Colleges.

Chulmleigh Community College headteacher Mike Johnson maintains the late change to grade boundaries in this summer's English GCSE exams was grossly unfair.

The school has offered all 117 pupils who sat the exams the chance to re-sit, but only eight have opted to do so.

Mr Johnson said: "I think this idea is a red herring," he said. Only a few will re-sit because the preparation needed and the short timeframe involved might not allow the students to improve their previous grade, as the grade boundaries have not changed since the summer."

He said his English department was eagerly awaiting the outcome of a national legal challenge against the change in boundaries.

"Staff feel completely let down by the failure of the authorities to apply fairness. This situation is grossly unfair to students, many of whom have been forced to change courses at college."

Sixteen pupils will take the exam again at Braunton Academy.

Principal David Sharratt said: "At Braunton Academy we chose OCR, one of the 'harder' more traditional examination boards in English, because we felt that the course best fitted our students' needs and we were fully aware that the Government was intent on raising the bar in 2011-12 to align all exam boards to the same standard.

"As a consequence, our results in English GCSE held up well and only 16 students will be re-sitting in November."

Three West Buckland School pupils have chosen to re-sit their English GCSE exam with a view to improving their result.

Ilfracombe Arts College headteacher Sharon Barnes said: "Along with 65,000 other students across the country, some of our Year 11 students at Ilfracombe were disappointed not to get the grades they deserved.

"We have sent a number of scripts for remarking and some local authorities and professional associations are taking legal action on the matter.

"We felt we should give all students who were disappointed by their results the opportunity to retake the exam with us, even if they have not stayed on into sixth form.

"All students have been written to asking them to contact the college if they wish to resit the exam."

David Fitzsimmons, headteacher of Holsworthy Community College said: "We have offered resits to 23 pupils. Candidates have suffered because of the grade boundary changes.

"We are fully in favour of a judicial review. We have nothing against the exam board making exams more challenging as long as the teachers and pupils know this before hand."

Jonathan Brewer, the vice principle of Bideford College, confirmed a total of 12 students will be re taking their English GCSE.

Andy Waters, the head teacher at Kingsley School in Bideford, confirmed one of his pupils would be taking the resit.

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