Cantell school head teacher writes to Education Secretary over exam grades

Education Secretary Michael Gove

Education Secretary Michael Gove

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

A Southampton head teacher has written to the Education Secretary to highlight the plight of teenagers she believes were cheated out of English GCSE grades.

Ruth Evans, head at Cantell Maths and Computing College, wants to see the Government force action over the fiasco caused by unannounced changes to the marking scheme halfway through the key course.

As reported, the shift in grade boundaries imposed without warning by exam boards meant some pupils failed, despite getting better scores than others who passed earlier.

Across Southampton, more than 130 missed out on vital C grades. Leaked letters have revealed officials from exams watchdog Ofqual pressurised awarding bodies to put a halt to rising English grades.

An alliance of schools, unions, councils and professional groups has been set up to fight for a change in the grades, including representatives of several Southampton and Hampshire secondaries, which is currently considering legal action. But so far, neither Ofqual nor the two main exam boards, Edexcel and AQA, has admitted any responsibility or wrongdoing.

A petition has been lodged with the Government calling for an inquiry into the affair, which several schools in the Daily Echo region have already urged parents to sign.

Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead has already visited Cantell to discuss the situation with Ms Evans, as well as Graham Wilson, head at St George Catholic School and chair of the Southampton Secondary Heads Forum.

The Cantell head has also discussed the scandal with Southampton’s other MPs, John Denham, who will be visiting the school in the coming weeks, and Caroline Nokes, who has herself been in contact with Ofqual to complain about the debacle.

In an impassioned letter to Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, Ms Evans said 19 Cantell pupils “who worked hard and with tremendous dedication”

had been given D grades instead of the Cs they were expecting and deserved.

She told the Tory MP staff have been “powerless to prevent them feeling they have failed”

Ms Evans wrote: “This has affected what they next do at college with all of them facing, at the very least, a retake in English next year.

“The local colleges have been supportive but a number of students have had to change college and courses, as a consequence.”

“As a school, this has meant that our overall headline figure for 5 A*-C is 53 per cent rather than 58 per cent.

“Our challenging school target was 50 per cent, so we have done well, but the headline we can publish does not accurately represent the tremendous progress we have made as a school.”

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:10pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Over the Edge says...

Hasn't Michael Gove just got one of those faces you'd just love to slap. I don't know what it is, but I'd love slap the taste out of his mouth and I'm not a violent person.
Hasn't Michael Gove just got one of those faces you'd just love to slap. I don't know what it is, but I'd love slap the taste out of his mouth and I'm not a violent person. Over the Edge
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Thu 11 Oct 12

George4th says...

We have had the Left Wing controlling education since the 60s. I will never ever forgive the teaching profession for allowing this state of affairs - they are to blame. We have been sliding down the global education tables to the point where we are almost classed as Third World!
>
It's amazing how much publicity this grade "C" or "D" has been given when you consider that the teaching profession has been failing our young for at least 40 years!!
It's no wonder that anyone who had money/saved enough money, would put their kids through private school!
>
As I see it, Mr Gove is trying to pull our education system up from an extremely low starting point.
We have had the Left Wing controlling education since the 60s. I will never ever forgive the teaching profession for allowing this state of affairs - they are to blame. We have been sliding down the global education tables to the point where we are almost classed as Third World! > It's amazing how much publicity this grade "C" or "D" has been given when you consider that the teaching profession has been failing our young for at least 40 years!! It's no wonder that anyone who had money/saved enough money, would put their kids through private school! > As I see it, Mr Gove is trying to pull our education system up from an extremely low starting point. George4th
  • Score: 0

5:01pm Thu 11 Oct 12

sotonboy84 says...

Over the Edge wrote:
Hasn't Michael Gove just got one of those faces you'd just love to slap. I don't know what it is, but I'd love slap the taste out of his mouth and I'm not a violent person.
It looks like his cheeks and mouth will wobble for about five minutes!
[quote][p][bold]Over the Edge[/bold] wrote: Hasn't Michael Gove just got one of those faces you'd just love to slap. I don't know what it is, but I'd love slap the taste out of his mouth and I'm not a violent person.[/p][/quote]It looks like his cheeks and mouth will wobble for about five minutes! sotonboy84
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Thu 11 Oct 12

MGRA says...

George4th wrote:
We have had the Left Wing controlling education since the 60s. I will never ever forgive the teaching profession for allowing this state of affairs - they are to blame. We have been sliding down the global education tables to the point where we are almost classed as Third World!
>
It's amazing how much publicity this grade "C" or "D" has been given when you consider that the teaching profession has been failing our young for at least 40 years!!
It's no wonder that anyone who had money/saved enough money, would put their kids through private school!
>
As I see it, Mr Gove is trying to pull our education system up from an extremely low starting point.
so true you could get T-shirts printed saying that and sell them to every state educated childs parents in the land...
[quote][p][bold]George4th[/bold] wrote: We have had the Left Wing controlling education since the 60s. I will never ever forgive the teaching profession for allowing this state of affairs - they are to blame. We have been sliding down the global education tables to the point where we are almost classed as Third World! > It's amazing how much publicity this grade "C" or "D" has been given when you consider that the teaching profession has been failing our young for at least 40 years!! It's no wonder that anyone who had money/saved enough money, would put their kids through private school! > As I see it, Mr Gove is trying to pull our education system up from an extremely low starting point.[/p][/quote]so true you could get T-shirts printed saying that and sell them to every state educated childs parents in the land... MGRA
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Facewagon says...

George4th wrote:
We have had the Left Wing controlling education since the 60s. I will never ever forgive the teaching profession for allowing this state of affairs - they are to blame. We have been sliding down the global education tables to the point where we are almost classed as Third World!
>
It's amazing how much publicity this grade "C" or "D" has been given when you consider that the teaching profession has been failing our young for at least 40 years!!
It's no wonder that anyone who had money/saved enough money, would put their kids through private school!
>
As I see it, Mr Gove is trying to pull our education system up from an extremely low starting point.
Of the 14 governments we've had since 1959, 6 have been Conservative (not including the current coalition). If the 'left wing' has truly been in control of education since the 60s, what were the 'right wing' governments doing all that time?

On this particular issue I won't comment on moving the grade boundaries in itself as I'm not qualified to do so; perhaps it does need to be done and perhaps this will have great benefits for future generations - if so, I'm all for it. What I do take issue with is the timing. If the boundaries must be shifted, it should have been done at a such a time that all members of a year group have a level playing field. As it is, those who took the exams in January had an easier time than their year-mates who took the exam later. This is self-evidently unfair.
[quote][p][bold]George4th[/bold] wrote: We have had the Left Wing controlling education since the 60s. I will never ever forgive the teaching profession for allowing this state of affairs - they are to blame. We have been sliding down the global education tables to the point where we are almost classed as Third World! > It's amazing how much publicity this grade "C" or "D" has been given when you consider that the teaching profession has been failing our young for at least 40 years!! It's no wonder that anyone who had money/saved enough money, would put their kids through private school! > As I see it, Mr Gove is trying to pull our education system up from an extremely low starting point.[/p][/quote]Of the 14 governments we've had since 1959, 6 have been Conservative (not including the current coalition). If the 'left wing' has truly been in control of education since the 60s, what were the 'right wing' governments doing all that time? On this particular issue I won't comment on moving the grade boundaries in itself as I'm not qualified to do so; perhaps it does need to be done and perhaps this will have great benefits for future generations - if so, I'm all for it. What I do take issue with is the timing. If the boundaries must be shifted, it should have been done at a such a time that all members of a year group have a level playing field. As it is, those who took the exams in January had an easier time than their year-mates who took the exam later. This is self-evidently unfair. Facewagon
  • Score: 0

8:56pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Gainer T Gopher says...

I believe that some of the pupils at normal Southampton school wrote letters as well... extract from one of them goes:-

Oi mr smug bar steward.... youse dis'd me and my homies.... we's just failed our maff now we's can't work out wat benefits we's get and what profit on our drugs deals.... innit....
I believe that some of the pupils at normal Southampton school wrote letters as well... extract from one of them goes:- Oi mr smug bar steward.... youse dis'd me and my homies.... we's just failed our maff now we's can't work out wat benefits we's get and what profit on our drugs deals.... innit.... Gainer T Gopher
  • Score: 0

7:24am Fri 12 Oct 12

nedscrumpo says...

Gainer T Gopher wrote:
I believe that some of the pupils at normal Southampton school wrote letters as well... extract from one of them goes:-

Oi mr smug bar steward.... youse dis'd me and my homies.... we's just failed our maff now we's can't work out wat benefits we's get and what profit on our drugs deals.... innit....
You ignorant person! That just is not funny.
[quote][p][bold]Gainer T Gopher[/bold] wrote: I believe that some of the pupils at normal Southampton school wrote letters as well... extract from one of them goes:- Oi mr smug bar steward.... youse dis'd me and my homies.... we's just failed our maff now we's can't work out wat benefits we's get and what profit on our drugs deals.... innit....[/p][/quote]You ignorant person! That just is not funny. nedscrumpo
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Fri 12 Oct 12

Gainer T Gopher says...

nedscrumpo wrote:
Gainer T Gopher wrote:
I believe that some of the pupils at normal Southampton school wrote letters as well... extract from one of them goes:-

Oi mr smug bar steward.... youse dis'd me and my homies.... we's just failed our maff now we's can't work out wat benefits we's get and what profit on our drugs deals.... innit....
You ignorant person! That just is not funny.
Ignorant gopher if you please.....
[quote][p][bold]nedscrumpo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gainer T Gopher[/bold] wrote: I believe that some of the pupils at normal Southampton school wrote letters as well... extract from one of them goes:- Oi mr smug bar steward.... youse dis'd me and my homies.... we's just failed our maff now we's can't work out wat benefits we's get and what profit on our drugs deals.... innit....[/p][/quote]You ignorant person! That just is not funny.[/p][/quote]Ignorant gopher if you please..... Gainer T Gopher
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Fri 12 Oct 12

mack chinnon says...

nedscrumpo wrote:
Gainer T Gopher wrote:
I believe that some of the pupils at normal Southampton school wrote letters as well... extract from one of them goes:-

Oi mr smug bar steward.... youse dis'd me and my homies.... we's just failed our maff now we's can't work out wat benefits we's get and what profit on our drugs deals.... innit....
You ignorant person! That just is not funny.
Yes it is.
[quote][p][bold]nedscrumpo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gainer T Gopher[/bold] wrote: I believe that some of the pupils at normal Southampton school wrote letters as well... extract from one of them goes:- Oi mr smug bar steward.... youse dis'd me and my homies.... we's just failed our maff now we's can't work out wat benefits we's get and what profit on our drugs deals.... innit....[/p][/quote]You ignorant person! That just is not funny.[/p][/quote]Yes it is. mack chinnon
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree