Pupils’ uncertainty continues as GCSE legal challenge begins

By politics.co.uk staff

Even if the legal challenge against this summer's GCSE grading decisions begun today succeeds students will still face uncertainty, a solicitor has warned.

Around 45,000 English students are retaking their English GCSE exam after narrowly missing out on the grade they were hoping for in June.

Unlike his Welsh counterpart, education secretary Michael Gove has refused to intervene to force regulator Ofqual to order an adjustment to the grade boundaries. Exam boards had treated pupils' work more generously in January's exams than those who sat the paper in the summer.

"It is concerning that examination boards that hold a responsibility to act fairly to individuals should be allowed to unilaterally change marks in this way," Anita Chopra, a partner at education law specialist Match Solicitors, said.

"The consequences to the students are significant and can make the difference between a good job and a mediocre one."

An alliance of schools, local authorities, unions and individuals officially began its legal challenge earlier today. It is seeking permission for a full judicial review of Ofqual's decision not to intervene after exam boards AQA and Edexcel changed their grade boundaries.

Chopra warned that each student may have to make a claim as a result of the consequence to their future and career.

It remains unclear how this might occur without the input or assistance of the school, she said, asking: "Are we going to see hundreds of damages claims launched against the examination boards? Will the procedures be amended to allow the students to challenge directly?"

Exam boards have been forced to pay out damages in the past to students as a result of errors on A-level results which meant missed places at university, leaving them the wrong side of the tuition fee changes.

"One hopes that justice will prevail and any students affected by this current fiasco will see that justice is done and damages to their futures are made good," Chopra added.