Christchurch head teacher: tell us why GCSEs were downgraded

Christchurch head teacher: tell us why GCSEs were downgraded

Christchurch head teacher: tell us why GCSEs were downgraded

First published in News

A LEADING Dorset head teacher is continuing to demand answers following controversy over this summer’s English GCSE results.

Twynham head Dr Terry Fish is among thousands of heads across the country pushing for grade boundaries changed at the last minute to be reinstated.

Students at schools across Dorset and Hampshire were devastated when they received lower than expected grades this August.

Many were unable to move forward with their studies as planned because they did not receive a vital C grade in English, one of the key requirements of most sixth form and college courses.

Now he and others have written to the chief executive of exams regulator Ofqual, Glenys Stacey, asking her to explain why GCSE results were downgraded this summer.

He told the Daily Echo: “When you have been a teacher for a long time you have a strong sense of what is right and wrong – I have a strong feeling that something wrong has happened here.

“We want students to get the results they deserve. There is a legal challenge going on but the government is carrying on as if nothing is happening.”

In the letter, he urged Mrs Stacey to provide evidence of why assessments were “so savagely” marked down and added: “I feel that your stance in blaming teachers is not only disingenuous but is also incorrect.”

Ofqual’s final report into the issue concluded the pressure on schools to get good GCSE grades had led to over-generous marking of coursework by teachers.

Comments (10)

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11:42am Wed 14 Nov 12

BournemouthMum says...

“We want students to get the results they deserve. There is a legal challenge going on but the government is carrying on as if nothing is happening.”

Your students did get the results they deserved! My son got a B in English even with the new grade boundaries. Just accept that your students didn't quite make the grade and stop bleating about how 'unfair' it is.
“We want students to get the results they deserve. There is a legal challenge going on but the government is carrying on as if nothing is happening.” Your students did get the results they deserved! My son got a B in English even with the new grade boundaries. Just accept that your students didn't quite make the grade and stop bleating about how 'unfair' it is. BournemouthMum
  • Score: 0

11:59am Wed 14 Nov 12

speedy231278 says...

GCSEs are pointless these days. The ever increasing percentage of kids getting As and A*s simply devalues them to the point they are useless.

As I understand it, the boundaries are based on what the kids achieve on average, so if all the kids one year are poor, the 'best' poor kids get A* grades based on what the others who didn't score as highly got? Surely that's a dreadful system? One year, 60% might score a C grade, and the next year, it might be worth a B or a D? How does that work?

All grades should be based on a fixed percentage that does not change year on year, or else you cannot compare the results! A* grades should be a near impossible achievement for the gifted, not something that just means you were slightly better than average that year!

I've never had a job where the employer is bothered in GCSE results, and I have 11 C or higher. Even A levels are going this way. A radical shakeup is needed so that kids have exam results that have a meaning, and employers actually take notice of them!
GCSEs are pointless these days. The ever increasing percentage of kids getting As and A*s simply devalues them to the point they are useless. As I understand it, the boundaries are based on what the kids achieve on average, so if all the kids one year are poor, the 'best' poor kids get A* grades based on what the others who didn't score as highly got? Surely that's a dreadful system? One year, 60% might score a C grade, and the next year, it might be worth a B or a D? How does that work? All grades should be based on a fixed percentage that does not change year on year, or else you cannot compare the results! A* grades should be a near impossible achievement for the gifted, not something that just means you were slightly better than average that year! I've never had a job where the employer is bothered in GCSE results, and I have 11 C or higher. Even A levels are going this way. A radical shakeup is needed so that kids have exam results that have a meaning, and employers actually take notice of them! speedy231278
  • Score: 0

11:59am Wed 14 Nov 12

yasinac says...

Dr Fish isn't 'bleating on', merely fighting his students corner. The levels set were changed at a time that had a negative impact on students that had no choice, or chance to improve their own results in line with the changed marking levels. If the marking levels were to change it would have been prudent to change them for next years GCSE's not mid year, when teaching staff had been following a different teaching schedule. And before anyone does the usual 'I suppose your children where affected' jibe. No they weren't, but I wholly support a headmaster that defends his pupils when he thinks they were not treated fairly.
Read anything written by Dr Fish, he is completely devoted to his vocation, encouraging the young people of his school to achieve as much as they can and to strive to be the best they can be at whatever they are good at.
Dr Fish isn't 'bleating on', merely fighting his students corner. The levels set were changed at a time that had a negative impact on students that had no choice, or chance to improve their own results in line with the changed marking levels. If the marking levels were to change it would have been prudent to change them for next years GCSE's not mid year, when teaching staff had been following a different teaching schedule. And before anyone does the usual 'I suppose your children where affected' jibe. No they weren't, but I wholly support a headmaster that defends his pupils when he thinks they were not treated fairly. Read anything written by Dr Fish, he is completely devoted to his vocation, encouraging the young people of his school to achieve as much as they can and to strive to be the best they can be at whatever they are good at. yasinac
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Wed 14 Nov 12

BournemouthMum says...

speedy231278 wrote:
GCSEs are pointless these days. The ever increasing percentage of kids getting As and A*s simply devalues them to the point they are useless.

As I understand it, the boundaries are based on what the kids achieve on average, so if all the kids one year are poor, the 'best' poor kids get A* grades based on what the others who didn't score as highly got? Surely that's a dreadful system? One year, 60% might score a C grade, and the next year, it might be worth a B or a D? How does that work?

All grades should be based on a fixed percentage that does not change year on year, or else you cannot compare the results! A* grades should be a near impossible achievement for the gifted, not something that just means you were slightly better than average that year!

I've never had a job where the employer is bothered in GCSE results, and I have 11 C or higher. Even A levels are going this way. A radical shakeup is needed so that kids have exam results that have a meaning, and employers actually take notice of them!
I wouldn't agree that GCSEs are pointless Good GCSE results are necessary to to into good colleges, then A levels are needed to get into good universities. The problem was that most students attained a grade C or above (incl maths & English) and so they became meaningless.

Now it has changed and students are given the grades they deserve. Too bad that some didn't make a C grade but those students probably aren't academic anyway.
[quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: GCSEs are pointless these days. The ever increasing percentage of kids getting As and A*s simply devalues them to the point they are useless. As I understand it, the boundaries are based on what the kids achieve on average, so if all the kids one year are poor, the 'best' poor kids get A* grades based on what the others who didn't score as highly got? Surely that's a dreadful system? One year, 60% might score a C grade, and the next year, it might be worth a B or a D? How does that work? All grades should be based on a fixed percentage that does not change year on year, or else you cannot compare the results! A* grades should be a near impossible achievement for the gifted, not something that just means you were slightly better than average that year! I've never had a job where the employer is bothered in GCSE results, and I have 11 C or higher. Even A levels are going this way. A radical shakeup is needed so that kids have exam results that have a meaning, and employers actually take notice of them![/p][/quote]I wouldn't agree that GCSEs are pointless Good GCSE results are necessary to to into good colleges, then A levels are needed to get into good universities. The problem was that most students attained a grade C or above (incl maths & English) and so they became meaningless. Now it has changed and students are given the grades they deserve. Too bad that some didn't make a C grade but those students probably aren't academic anyway. BournemouthMum
  • Score: 0

8:21pm Wed 14 Nov 12

fossilmole says...

Why bleat about reality.

Many of today's youngsters, when they 'hit' the marketplace, cannot put an English sentence together!

As for their ability to use correct grammar...don't hold your breath!

I suspect the grades awarded were,in fact, spot on!
Why bleat about reality. Many of today's youngsters, when they 'hit' the marketplace, cannot put an English sentence together! As for their ability to use correct grammar...don't hold your breath! I suspect the grades awarded were,in fact, spot on! fossilmole
  • Score: 0

9:09pm Wed 14 Nov 12

sea poole says...

fossilmole -guess you're an expert in assessing English Language. You seem to know all the answers and have a great affinity with today's youth.
As for BournemouthMum- Wonder if you'd be the first to 'bleat' if your offspring was downgraded...but seem smug and complacent as your 'darling' achieved the B grade...
fossilmole -guess you're an expert in assessing English Language. You seem to know all the answers and have a great affinity with today's youth. As for BournemouthMum- Wonder if you'd be the first to 'bleat' if your offspring was downgraded...but seem smug and complacent as your 'darling' achieved the B grade... sea poole
  • Score: 0

8:28am Thu 15 Nov 12

muscliffman says...

sea poole wrote:
fossilmole -guess you're an expert in assessing English Language. You seem to know all the answers and have a great affinity with today's youth.
As for BournemouthMum- Wonder if you'd be the first to 'bleat' if your offspring was downgraded...but seem smug and complacent as your 'darling' achieved the B grade...
If the current Education system were to be compared to a factory in the private sector it would have gone bust years ago - because it turns out ever more inferior products whilst pretending even to it's self-interested and deluded self, that they are improving.
That is why revision to grading must be only the start of urgently reversing this unacceptable situation.
Both those posters that you deride have a far better grasp of this reality than you appear to have.
The Headteacher whining - 'Must try harder' simple.
[quote][p][bold]sea poole[/bold] wrote: fossilmole -guess you're an expert in assessing English Language. You seem to know all the answers and have a great affinity with today's youth. As for BournemouthMum- Wonder if you'd be the first to 'bleat' if your offspring was downgraded...but seem smug and complacent as your 'darling' achieved the B grade...[/p][/quote]If the current Education system were to be compared to a factory in the private sector it would have gone bust years ago - because it turns out ever more inferior products whilst pretending even to it's self-interested and deluded self, that they are improving. That is why revision to grading must be only the start of urgently reversing this unacceptable situation. Both those posters that you deride have a far better grasp of this reality than you appear to have. The Headteacher whining - 'Must try harder' simple. muscliffman
  • Score: 0

9:43am Thu 15 Nov 12

BournemouthMum says...

sea poole wrote:
fossilmole -guess you're an expert in assessing English Language. You seem to know all the answers and have a great affinity with today's youth.
As for BournemouthMum- Wonder if you'd be the first to 'bleat' if your offspring was downgraded...but seem smug and complacent as your 'darling' achieved the B grade...
Actually no I wouldn't. My daughter (who is 28) was not academic and I accepted that and instead of pushing her toward achieving high grades I encouraged her to find other avenues.She is now a hairdresser and partner in a salon.

Not everyone is cut out for a university education and many courses are useless anyway and won't lead to gainful employment. I'd do the same with my son only he has an aptitue for the sciences.

Dr Fish needs to accept that this is the way forward. I suspect that he has become accustomed to being 'top of the tree' - ie Twynham is one of the higher performing schools in the area, and he is obviously not too pleased that his school's grades have declined.
[quote][p][bold]sea poole[/bold] wrote: fossilmole -guess you're an expert in assessing English Language. You seem to know all the answers and have a great affinity with today's youth. As for BournemouthMum- Wonder if you'd be the first to 'bleat' if your offspring was downgraded...but seem smug and complacent as your 'darling' achieved the B grade...[/p][/quote]Actually no I wouldn't. My daughter (who is 28) was not academic and I accepted that and instead of pushing her toward achieving high grades I encouraged her to find other avenues.She is now a hairdresser and partner in a salon. Not everyone is cut out for a university education and many courses are useless anyway and won't lead to gainful employment. I'd do the same with my son only he has an aptitue for the sciences. Dr Fish needs to accept that this is the way forward. I suspect that he has become accustomed to being 'top of the tree' - ie Twynham is one of the higher performing schools in the area, and he is obviously not too pleased that his school's grades have declined. BournemouthMum
  • Score: 0

3:18pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Crashtest1976 says...

Bournemouth Mum - you don't get it do you. The Coursework completed by the students was pre-marked by teachers and then sent off for moderation by the exam boards. The responses, as it appears nationally, was that the marking was accurate. Therefore the teachers were confident that the students had achieved a certain mark and met the requirements for a C grade.
However the boundaries changed in July and what a students was excpected to do to get a C was changed without the students having a chance to meet the new requirements for a C.
Nothing to do with moaning about not being top of the tree just an example of a Headteacher wanting to get the best results for his students. When all results are published I would imagine Dr Fish will still be the Head of one of the highest achieving schools in the area - he saying this becuase it's right for those young people.
Bournemouth Mum - you don't get it do you. The Coursework completed by the students was pre-marked by teachers and then sent off for moderation by the exam boards. The responses, as it appears nationally, was that the marking was accurate. Therefore the teachers were confident that the students had achieved a certain mark and met the requirements for a C grade. However the boundaries changed in July and what a students was excpected to do to get a C was changed without the students having a chance to meet the new requirements for a C. Nothing to do with moaning about not being top of the tree just an example of a Headteacher wanting to get the best results for his students. When all results are published I would imagine Dr Fish will still be the Head of one of the highest achieving schools in the area - he saying this becuase it's right for those young people. Crashtest1976
  • Score: 0

2:01am Fri 30 Nov 12

portia6 says...

You have to admire the Headteacher
for standing up for his pupils. Every
student deserves a chance to succeed.
Some will go on to college as my son
did and is now at University.
I am sure that many will re-take exams
to achieve their goal and not be labelled
as under-achievers too hastily.
You have to admire the Headteacher for standing up for his pupils. Every student deserves a chance to succeed. Some will go on to college as my son did and is now at University. I am sure that many will re-take exams to achieve their goal and not be labelled as under-achievers too hastily. portia6
  • Score: 0

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