Assurances for Leicester students affected by grades row
Teenagers who fell short of getting a C grade at GCSE English are being told they may still be able to get on to their chosen college courses.
Assurances were made after it emerged earlier this week that there had been problems with this year's grades.
Following the publication of the results, head teachers across the country raised concerns that the subject had been marked too harshly and grade boundaries had been changed. Many teenagers predicted Cs were awarded Ds instead – affecting their chances of getting into college.
Sixth form heads and college leaders in the city met Leicester City Council officers on Wednesday to discuss the problem.
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Bill Morris, head of the Education Improvement Partnership (EIP), which looks after the city's secondary schools, said: "Leaders of sixth forms and colleges are taking a pragmatic approach. They know there have been issues with grade boundaries and the message we all want to get out is those students who have slipped grades may still be able to get on the courses they want.
"It's very important they get in touch with their schools and colleges, which will look at this on a case by case basis.
"There are plenty of options still open to students even if they don't get on to their original course, but they must get in touch.
"One concern is that for many students who will want to go on to university, these grades could be looked back at, especially by the most elite universities."
Exams regulator Ofqual agreed to conduct an urgent review, amid threats of legal action from local authorities and teachers but last night said it was not planning to ask exam boards to regrade the papers.
Mr Morris said the city council was not considering legal action at this stage, and officials were waiting for Ofqual's findings before making any further decisions.
Suzanne Overton-Edwards, principal of Gateway College, in Hamilton, said: "Any students who may have dropped to a D grade, or even an E, should get in contact.
"We'll assess their English language skills and on that basis advise them about the best programme for them.
"I hope students aren't penalised for this when it comes to applying to higher education."
Nationally, the number of children achieving A* to C grades fell for the first time in 24 years. Education bosses in the city said English results were down by about 1.5 per cent from last year.
Judgemeadow Community College, in Evington, was among those whose results were affected.
Head teacher Rob Summer said: "Regardless of league table positions, it's important we sort out the future of these students.
"How can we prepare students if we're uncertain what it takes to achieve a grade C any more?"
Sandra Hamilton-Fox, the new principal of Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College, said the meeting had gone well.
"We were able to get a clearer picture of how the change in grade boundaries has affected schools," she said. "We have been aware of the difficulties created for some young people and have been working with students to help them secure a progression route."