GCSE change defended by school head

Roddy McCowan, headteacher at Baines School.
Roddy McCowan, headteacher at Baines School.

A school has defended its decision to ask pupils to retake certain GCSE exams despite some youngsters having already achieved high grades.

Baines High School in Poulton is looking at changing the exam boards it uses for GCSE English and maths due to government changes to the marking systems.

But parents of those pupils who have already taken exams and achieved the highest possible grades said the move could cause “uproar” if those students were made to retake.

All the 15 and 16-year-olds at the Highcross Road school have already taken maths exams as part of their module based courses.

The move follows a government announcement which says grades scored in early entry exams will be the only score considered by Ofsted and nationally published data.

The school has said “turbulence” in GCSE marking in recent years means it has doubts about early entry when there are still seven months for children to study topics.

Roddy McCowan, headteacher at Baines School, said: “We have been looking carefully at the situation concerning early entry for maths and English GCSEs this November, in light of the recent government announcement.

“We want to ensure that our pupils achieve their best possible results, as well as making the required progress in maths and English.”

The school has said the move is to give pupils the “best chance” to achieve the “highest possible grade”.

But one mother said her 15-year-old son, who was on track for an A* in maths, had been told he would have to start again.

She said: “There were three modules and they took three exams, my son got an A* in GCSE maths but they said 60 per cent of students got D’s so they’re changing the exam boards.

“So what they’ve done until now has been scrapped.

“I’ve been really proud of what he achieved and he feels like he has to start from scratch when he could focus on other subjects.

“He said it was uproar in school and everyone was crying.”

Mr McCowan added: “We are always happy to discuss any concerns that pupils and parents might have.”

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