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Friday, 28 November 2014

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School league tables based on 'flawed process', claims Cumbrian head

The row surrounding exam marking has been re-ignited after the Government published the GCSE league tables.

Last year five schools in Cumbria protested about a change in marking methods for the English GCSE.

Richard Rose Central and Morton academies, Beacon Hill Community School in Aspatria, and Furness and Walney academies in the south of the county all failed to hit targets following the change.

Now two other schools have made their dissatisfaction clear.

Alan Mottershead, head at Trinity School in Carlisle, said: “It’s not right and we don’t know that the table will give a full picture.

“I don’t think they have allowed students to show what they are capable of.

“It’s not just the English marking, and it’s not helpful to form a picture of what the school is like.

“The exam round of 2012 left much to be desired.”

Geoff Walker, headteacher at Cockermouth School, said: “We do not recognise, or accept the validity, of this year’s league tables as they are based on a flawed process.

“The results in English were significantly reduced in a number of schools, including Cockermouth, because of the now well-publicised English marking fiasco.

“Parents, students and staff look forward to having their confidence restored in the exams system this year, when hopefully there will be a level playing field nationally.”

Following the change in the marking system schools in Carlisle, Aspatria and Barrow were not able to hit targets for GCSE grades.

At the time regulator Ofqual defended the system and said the exams were marked properly.

But the Cumbria secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Alan Rutter, gave a staunch defence of the schools, saying they were justifiably upset.

A legal challenge has since been launched by an alliance of pupils, school and councils over the marking of the exams.

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