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‘Don’t blame teachers for GCSE cock-up’ says Woodford Green headteacher

PUBLISHED: 10:16 08 November 2012

Dr Paul Doherty (teacher) has been commended in the New Years Honours.

Dr Paul Doherty (teacher) has been commended in the New Years Honours.

Archant

A headteacher has slammed the conclusion that “strong pressure” on teachers to get their pupils good grades resulted in disappointing English GCSE results in the summer.

Dr Paul Doherty, of Trinity Catholic High School, Mornington Road, Woodford Green, said the exam results were an “utter cock-up” and blamed the exam board and government for the problems.

Exams regulator Ofqual, which released its statement on Friday, added that pressure to ensure as many students as possible achieved a C grade, led to significant over-marking of assessments by teachers.

Tens of thousands of teenagers received lower GCSE English grades than expected in August after exam boards moved the grade boundaries between January and June.

But Dr Doherty said: “We teach the children, stick to the syllabus, prepare them well and we follow the exam boards directly – and somehow we are getting the blame. I feel dismayed and shocked at what Ofqual has concluded. It is like holding athletes responsible for the state of the track.

“This is a matter for the exam board and the government to sort out.

At Trinity Catholic, 94 per cent of girls and 83 per cent of boys achieved English language A* to C grades. The school decided to have a small number of English GCSE exams remarked but the movement in grades was only “marginal”.

Dr Doherty said: “It was very badly managed. I believe my teachers did not feel the pressure until August when the results were released.”

Nationally, there was a 1.5 per cent drop in students getting A* to C English grades compared with last year. Dr Doherty said: “Long term I think there needs to be a national exam board. We are only a small island, surely a national board and syllabus would work better and more efficiently.”


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