Wales threatens to sue exams regulator over GCSE dispute
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 14 September 2012
The exams regulator has been threatened with legal action by the Welsh Government over the fiasco surrounding this year's results in GCSE English exams.
Sources at the Welsh Assembly said yesterday that if the Office of Qualifications and Exams Regulation (Ofqual) tried to refuse the Welsh exam board, the WJEC, permission to continue offering exams to pupils in England, the matter would end up in the courts. In a letter to the WJEC on Wednesday, Ofqual said that if the board went ahead with re-grading Welsh pupils' results, it might fail to meet the tough criteria necessary to offer exams in England.
England and Wales are at loggerheads over how to deal with the crisis which was caused by exam boards increasing the pass mark for pupils who sat the exam in June after Ofqual said those who sat it in January had been marked generously.
Ofqual, which only has jurisdiction over education in England, has insisted regrading is not necessary as the grades awarded to pupils who sat the exam in June were correct.
However, Chris Tweedale, director of the schools and young people group of the Welsh Assembly, said in a letter to Glenys Stacey, the chief executive of Ofqual: "We stand by evidence and findings of a report which indicate that some candidates in Wales received outcomes that were unjustifiable and unfair."
The Welsh Government is also incensed by comments made by Amanda Spielman, who chairs Ofqual, that its regrading decision was "politically motivated".
"We believe these comments to be inappropriate, ill-judged and prejudicial and we would ask for them to be withdrawn," Mr Tweedale added.
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