Pupils will not be allowed to appeal GCSE grades based on teachers’ estimates

School and college heads face ‘anger’ from students and parents over results, education leader says.

Pupils celebrate their GCSE results
Pupils celebrate their GCSE results

Students who are unhappy with GCSE grades awarded by their school or college will not be able to appeal against the result, England’s exams regulator has confirmed.

Guidance from Ofqual – published on GCSE results day – confirms schools and colleges can only appeal where there has been an administrative error with the centre assessment grade (CAG).

It comes amid confusion about whether pupils would be able to challenge their teachers’ estimated grades following the U-turn on A-level and GCSE results.

Colleges are still facing “a lot of hassle” because students and parents “blame” them for their grades, the deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) told the PA news agency.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said he was expecting staff to have similar “challenging” conversations with GCSE students over centre assessment grades.

On Thursday, Ofqual clarified that schools and colleges would not be able to appeal against their own grades if they had decided the judgment was correct at the point of submitting it to the exam board.

EDUCATION GCSEs
(PA Graphics) 

It said: “If a student is concerned that any reasonable adjustments were not taken into account when their school or college determined their CAG, they should discuss this with their school or college.”

But a pupil will be able to take their concerns about bias or discrimination over teachers’ grades to the relevant exam board, Ofqual said.

Last week, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said students would be able to use the highest result out of their moderate grade from exam boards, their mock exam or sit an exam in the autumn.

But following the U-turn to allow teachers’ estimated grades to be used instead, Ofqual has confirmed that a route to appeal on the grounds of mock exam results “is not available”.

Students who are unhappy with their final grade can sit exams in the autumn.

James Kewin , deputy chief executive of the SFCA, said: “This guidance has not changed much. Colleges are still getting a lot of hassle because parents and students blame them for the CAG.

“Many think the CAG is the same as a teacher predicted grade, and do not realise that the CAG methodology was imposed on them by Ofqual.”

He added: “Some students are still dissatisfied because they do not think their centre assessed grades are as high as they should be.

“As a result, principals and heads are now facing a good deal of anger from some students and their parents.”

Mr Kewin called on the Department for Education to issue a statement to parents and students making it clear that schools and colleges had to develop grades following the Government’s methodology.

“The Government created this mess, and it is unacceptable to leave individual schools and colleges to carry the can now the solution they have put in place has created a further set of problems,” he said.

Mr Barton said he knew of one sixth form college which had been threatened with a solicitor and had to deal with “abusive” parents over the colleges’ estimated grades following A-level results day.

He added: “Like much else in this debacle, the grounds for appeal will leave many people dissatisfied, but it is difficult to see how they could be extended at this stage in a way which wouldn’t immediately create more disruption and inconsistency.”

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