Unions say Ofqual is trying to shift blame for GCSE fiasco


Teaching unions have hit back at claims that “cheating” teachers are to blame for the summer’s GCSE fiasco.

Exam watchdog Ofqual today released a report saying too much pressure on schools to get good results in GCSE English led to over-generous marking of coursework by teachers – a situation which led external examiners to raise grade boundaries as a result.

But this was dismissed by the NUT and NASUWT, who said Ofqual was trying to shift the blame from themselves to teachers.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Anyone using Ofqual’s Report to claim that teachers are guilty of cheating in exam marking are not only unacceptably and unjustifiably denigrating their integrity and professionalism, but are also in grave danger of distracting from the big issues raised in Ofqual’s Report.

“We welcome the clear public statements by the Chief Regulator that teachers are not guilty of cheating.

“Ofqual’s Report has highlighted the poisonous relationship between the qualifications system and the accountability regime. This is at the heart of the controversy.

“The accountability system is not fit for purpose and places unacceptable pressure on schools. If it were fit for purpose we would not be having this debate.

“The is now a window of opportunity for the Secretary of State  to issue the long overdue consultation on school accountability and put forward his proposals for addressing the issues raised in Ofqual’s Report.”

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said “Ofqual seem to be shifting the blame whilst at the same time exposing the nonsense of floor targets. They continue to refuse to acknowledge the mistakes they have clearly made. It is high time Ofqual took some responsibility for a situation of their own making.

“The fact remains that young people were let down. The solution is to re-grade the exams of young people who, together with their teachers, worked to the parameters set in January.

“The decision to shift the boundaries came without warning and has inflicted a great injustice on students whose chances to continue in education, employment or apprenticeships have been scuppered by the failures of Ofqual. It is for this reason, and with great regret, that the NUT and a large coalition of unions, teachers’ professional bodies, local councils and schools have issued High Court proceedings against Ofqual and exam boards AQA and Edexcel.”

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