Academy bid halted as school queries grades
A school has put its plans to convert to an academy on hold until this summer's GCSE English exam row has been sorted out.
Longslade College, in Birstall, is among the hundreds of schools across the country to have raised concerns that the subject has been marked too harshly this summer and grade boundaries have been changed.
Jason Smith, vice-principal at the school, said at least 57 students had been affected.
He said that despite being predicted C grades, those students had received Ds.
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The school is now paying about £5,000 to have the papers remarked.
Mr Smith said: "We began the process of becoming an academy, but were told by the Department of Education to come back to it once our results had come out this summer.
"We have not gone back to the department because we've been affected by the GCSE English exam issue.
"We are challenging the marking and have made an appeal to the Welsh exam board, WJEC.
"At the moment, we're focusing on this appeal and supporting students to take up their college places in light of what's happened.
"We're paying about £5,000 to have all the exam papers remarked and returned to the school for us to look at and that should take a few weeks.
"Until that happens, we won't be continuing the academy process."
Longslade has refused to publish its results until the situation is resolved.
WJEC has re-graded thousands of Welsh students' English papers, after the Welsh Assembly instructed it to look again.
However, Education Secretary Michael Gove has so far refused to budge on the issue for English students.
He described the move by Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews as "irresponsible" and a "regrettable political intervention".
A spokesman for WJEC said that all schools had the right to make an inquiry about results.
He said: "This is not the same as re-grading.
"Every school has one month's grace to ask for their papers to be re-marked if they are concerned about the quality of marking.
"The process isn't immediate and takes a few weeks.
"Schools are required to pay for the service.
"However, if marks are subsequently changed, the school's money is returned."