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- Education Professionals
GCSE row: 45,000 pupils opt to resit
Around one in 14 students – more than 45,000 in total – who took the qualification in the summer have opted to re-take exams, after grading boundaries were changed.
One school leaders' union said the numbers were higher than expected, and warned that offering students an extra chance to resit was not the answer to the ongoing GCSE English fiasco.
The figures came as an alliance of schools, pupils, professional bodies and councils announced they would submit a legal challenge over the debacle to the high court in the next week.
Thousands of students received lower than expected results in GCSE English in the summer after grade boundaries were raised between the January and June exam sessions.
Following an investigation by the exams regulator, Ofqual, students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were offered the chance to resit all or part of the course. But headteachers say pupils who were affected should not have to resit as the problems were not of their making, and are calling for this summer's GCSE English papers to be re-graded.
Brian Lightman, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "We've said all along this is not the solution, because if the exams are graded in the same way as they were in the summer then students will still find their results are down. What this shows is that it is a gross injustice that this vast number of students are being subjected to go through a resit when the fact is this is not their fault."
The row over the English exams broke out as national GCSE results were published in August.
The regulator insisted it would be inappropriate for either of the sets of exams to be regraded. Instead, students would be given a chance to resit the GCSE in November.
In Wales, the education minister, Leighton Andrews, ordered the WJEC exam board to regrade Welsh students' English papers. As a result, last month nearly 2,400 pupils who took English with the exam board received better results, after a review of the marking system.