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What makes a GCSE pass ‘standard’, ‘good’, or ‘strong’?
The new numerical GCSE grades from 9 (the top) to 1, rather than A* to G, will be awarded for the  rst time this summer, in English and Maths. In the new grading system the grade 4 is roughly equivalent to the grade C, the current ‘good pass’.
Previously the Department for Education said that a grade 5, the equivalent of a high C or low B, would be seen in future as the ‘good pass’. However, Education Secretary Justine Greening now says grade 4 will be considered a ‘standard pass’ and a grade 5 as a ‘strong pass’.
She said: “Under the new system, a grade 4 and above will be equivalent toaCandabove.Thisis-andwill remain - the level that pupils must achieve in order not to be required to continue studying English
and maths post 16. Therefore, a GCSE pass at new grade 4 will continue to have real currency for individual pupils as they progress to further study and employment. Where employers, FE providers and universities currently accept a grade C we would expect them to continue recognising a grade 4.
“The government wants to see the percentage of pupils achieving a
grade 5 and above rising as the performance of the education system improves – but this will
take time. Indeed the process used by Ofqual to avoid grade in ation will ensure that broadly the same proportion of pupils achieve the grade 4 and above this summer as achieved the grade C and above
last year. This is why I want to be very clear to schools, employers, colleges and pupils themselves
that a ‘standard pass’ is a credible achievement and one that should be valued as a passport to future study and employment.
Commenting on the pass grade
for the new GCSEs, Association
of Teachers and Lecturers general secretary (ATL), Dr Mary Bousted, said: “It is good to see that the education secretary has seen some sense and has attempted to dispel the confusion around what now constitutes a pass at GCSE. However, introducing grade 4 as the ‘standard pass’ and grade 5 as the ‘strong pass’, for reporting purposes, will do little to dispel the confusion. Why not just stick with grade 4 as the new pass grade?”
Taste of magic
Young witches and wizards enjoyed a magical day when their school was transformed into Hogwarts for a spellbinding celebration of 20 years of Harry Potter.
After being greeted by Professor McGonnagal - headmistress Laura Turner - children at Barnard Castle Preparatory School were sent through Platform 9 3/4 and on into a host of activities.
the ideal venue for quidditch and broomstick  ying.
All the staff and pupils swapped normal school uniform for a host of witch and wizard out ts as well as characters including Dobbie the house elf, the golden snitch, Hagrid and the Dementors.
But it was at lunchtime when the day moved to another level with the Victorian oak panelled dining hall of Barnard Castle School transformed into Hogwarts’ Great Hall with real  res lit and long tables laid out for a feast for the houses of Gryf ndor, Slytherin, Huf epuff and Ravenclaw.
Older pupils headed to the science
laboratory to make potions while
the art room was taken over with
owl mask-making and quill writing.
The Prep School’s AstroTurf was
Pictured: Headmistress Laura Turner as Professor McGonnagal
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