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Dudley head blasts Gove after GCSE results spark campus fury
11:15am Wednesday 28th August 2013 in News
THE announcement of this year's GCSE results sparked a blistering attack on the government from headteachers in Dudley.
As secondary school students discovered their results headteachers vented their anger at changes in grade boundaries which they claim are denying pupils passes in the benchmark subject of English Language.
Education secretary Michael Gove MP came in for ferocious criticism from Graham Lloyd, headmaster at Holly Hall Academy, who believes government policy reduced his school's headline figure, pupils with five or more GCSE passes including English and maths, by 19 per cent.
Mr Lloyd said: "He is morally bankrupt, damaging kids lives on the back of political dogma. It is a national disgrace - they have moved the goal posts."
Teachers argue English has been targeted this year by a policy which forces exam boards to set quotas for each grade after exams have been marked - leaving schools in the dark about what grades their pupils are likely to get before they sit GCSEs.
Mr Lloyd said: "It is all very well for Mr Gove to fiddle about, I'm dealing with kids having their lives and futures screwed up, I think it's immoral.
"It affects schools in disadvantaged areas more sharply where there are more kids on the C/D borderline."
April Garratt, principal at Hillcrest School in Netherton, also says Mr Gove could do better because changing standards for exam grades creates fear among teachers and pupils.
She said: "Our children have been here for five years, before the final exams everything changes and we have to rethink.
"For these children this is their life chance, they have been used as political guinea pigs.
"We don't mind working hard, we want the best for our children but we have got to know what we are aiming for."
Mr Gove however denies putting pressure on exam boards about where to set grade boundaries and says this year's changes to GCSEs were designed by the previous government.
He said: "You cannot have a situation where exam passes continue rising for ever and ever without there being in some subjects where grades are either falling, steadying or changing.
"The decision over exam boundaries is made by the exam boards. Exam boards, inconversation with the regulator will ensure these exams are fairly comparable with previous years."
He added he is keen to reform GCSEs to end a culture excessive course work and re-sits and retakes where candidates sit exams in the same subject several times and pick their best results.
He said: "We need to have proper rigorous exams for everyone, we don't want a two-tier system, we need to have additional rigour and stretch."
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