Page 14 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Marking reforms to be phased in
Ofqual has announced a number of reforms to the system to be introduced over the next three years. These include:
Exam boards will be required to ensure that schools allow individual students to request the marks of their non-exam assessment from 2018
Exam boards will ensure marked GCSE scripts are available to schools and colleges before their deadline for requesting a review of marking from 2020
Exam boards will have to provide the reasons for a review of marking decisions automatically from 2020
Peter Hamilton, Chair of HMC’s Academic Policy Committee and Headmaster of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School said:
“HMC has called for greater transparency in exam marking and welcomes these changes. We are particularly pleased to see students will eventually receive copies of
their marked GCSE papers without charge and exam boards will need to explain their marking in the case of challenged grades.
“However, the exam marking system is still not equally fair
to each candidate and remains fundamentally  awed. One in  ve A Level and GCSE grades are overturned when challenged, and
many of the rest might of cially be considered reasonable but are not trusted by schools. Meanwhile, the cost of challenging grades remains prohibitively high for many state schools, so we can only wonder how many students missed out altogether on the chance to get unfair grades changed.
“A centrally funded re-marking fund is needed to help cash-strapped state schools challenge suspect grades whenever necessary and ensure no student’s future is put at undue risk. We need a system that works fairly for everyone,  rst time.
“Meanwhile, it is sensible that the exam boards intend to continue to work to the same timetable for
challenges and appeals to results. This will avoid the potential for confusion and loss of con dence made possible by Ofqual’s decision last year to abandon its former
Code of Practice. In this instance the boards have, in effect, moved to save the regulator from itself.”
Russell Hobby, general secretary
of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “NAHT has consistently called for greater transparency in exam marking and we welcome changes outlined. We particularly welcome plans to ensure exam boards
explain their marking in the case of challenged grades, and that students will receive copies of their marked GCSE papers without charge.
“However, with one in  ve A Level and GCSE grades overturned when challenged, we would argue that
the system is still fundamentally  awed. The cost of challenging grades also remains prohibitively high for schools. With budgets being pushed to breaking point, many schools cannot afford to challenge unfairness. This is not right.
“We would like to see a fairer system for re-marking, including a fund
to help schools pay for regrading. Challenging grades should not
be based on the ability to pay, but rather a desire to address misjudgements in the grading process.”
New partnership
Chinthurst School, Surrey, is entering into a partnership with two other local schools, Reigate St Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School (RSM) and Reigate Grammar School (RGS).
Under the new long term commitments, Chinthurst will be fully supported to retain and develop its current ethos and values while becoming a key member of the RGS family of schools.
RGS Headmaster Shaun Fenton said: “This is a really exciting development and good news for local families. The three schools are an excellent  t in terms of ethos, achievement and ambition. We all subscribe to the view that education is about far more than academic achievement alone. Our pupils’ lives are full of drama, music and sport and a host of other
activities that stretch and inspire them. We seek to educate the whole child and set them on the path to ful lled lives and happy adulthood.”
Tim Button who has led the turnaround of Chinthurst felt the time was right to step down, and let a new head
be appointed for the longer term. Cathy Trundle (pictured) formerly RSM Deputy Head, has joined Chinthurst as Headteacher in succession to Tim. She said: ‘I would hope that, among other things, the partnership will increase pupil numbers, which in turn will help us drive investment into strengthening the school’s facilities even further. Securing Chinthurst to a secondary school is always a hugely positive thing. It gives us more choice of extra-curricular
activities for the children and it provides the security we
are looking for. It is, however, important that Chinthurst retains its autonomy and its strengths are cherished, just
as is the case for Reigate St. Mary’s. It will continue doing what it does best – helping children take their  rst steps on the long path to ful lled and successful adult lives.’
14 Independent Schools Magazine
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