John Denham backs Southampton schools GCSE protest

Southampton Itchen Labour MP John Denham has criticised the Tory-led Government as the scandal over the re-grading of pupils’ examination results continues. 

Mr Denham is giving his full backing to the campaign being led by Southampton schools to have GCSE students exams regraded, so that they receive the same Grade as students who sat the same exam in January and got exactly the same marks.

Southampton schools have been at the forefront of organising an e-petition to the Government protesting against the unfairness of the decision made by Ofqual and supported by the Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove to change the grade boundaries mid-year.  The e-petition calls on the government to set up a full enquiry to investigate the fall in GCSE English results and to justify the differences between winter and summer awards in 2012.

Mr Denham is supporting local headteachers, who are writing to parents in Southampton, urging for all parents, students, teachers, governors and any other stakeholders who feel this injustice should be corrected, to sign the e-petition to voice their concern and to demand action is taken to make the playing field level for all of this year’s students.

From research Mr Denham has undertaken locally, over 130 GCSE students in the city of Southampton have been affected by the regrading which has taken place.  Ofqual and the government have both acknowledged the unfairness of the situation, but so far have failed to respond to correct it.

The link to the e-petition is:

John Denham wants GCSE students to be graded fairly and consistently

This petition is going to be available to all school and college communities across the country.  There are tens of thousands of students who have had their futures put in doubt by this unfairness and demand that the situation be corrected as soon as possible.

  • Students who were entered for the GCSE English in January 2012 were required to get a lower mark to pass than the students entered in June 2012.  That means there were some students who took their exam and were assessed in June, who performed better than students who took their exams in January, and yet were still awarded a lower grade.

Mr Denham said:

“What has happened is extraordinarily unfair on students.  Worse, this unnecessary and unfair situation is threatening to stop some students from getting on to the courses and apprenticeships they deserve to be on.

“That’s why I’m urging people to sign the e-petition in an attempt to make the Government listen.

“The Government needs to accept its fault for this fiasco, apologise for changing grade boundaries mid year, and give a grading that is consistent for the exams in June, as they were in January.  That is the only way we will draw a line under this issue.

Some students have now lost out on apprenticeships because they have been made to re-do qualifications that they’d have passed, and this wouldn’t even have been an issue, in January.

“I also understand that some students are now being refused admittance to their chosen college.  I don’t want students in Southampton being left behind so the Government must act.”

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