Independent schools successfully challenge more GCSE results, leading to ‘double disadvantage’ for state pupils

The Tes reports that independent schools are more likely to challenge exam results and be successful in their requests for reviews of marking than the vast majority of state schools.

Heads leaders are warning that this means that pupils in state schools, already hit by real terms school funding cuts, are being “doubly disadvantaged”. 

At both GCSE and A-level, independent schools put in more challenges to exam boards than state schools, according to an analysis of the latest figures from the exams regulator, Ofqual.

Independent schools requested reviews for 8.1 per cent of their GCSE entries – which is more than academies (5.5 per cent) and other comprehensives (5.6 per cent), the 2016 figures show. And the analysis reveals that 20.9 per cent of GCSE grades challenged by independent schools were changed, compared to 17.3 per cent for comprehensives and 17.5 per cent for academies.

Geoff Barton, Association of School and College Leaders general secretary, suggested the difference in appeal rates between the sectors could be explained by state school budgetary pressures.

“It might be that independent schools are able to put more money into [re-marks],” he said. “If so, that does raise quite big questions as it could be that children in schools with lower budgets are being doubly disadvantaged. It certainly isn’t because the state sector teachers don’t care. They will be just as concerned.” 

Last week, pupils received their A-level results and the proportion of entries awarded the top A* and A grades at A level across the 13 reformed “linear” A-levels went down. 

The Ofqual figures show that independent schools requested reviews for 9.8 per cent of their A-level entries – which is more than comprehensives (4.7 per cent), academies (6.2 per cent) and grammars (5.5 per cent). 

Read more Independent schools successfully challenge more GCSE results, leading to ‘double disadvantage’ for state pupils

What do you think? Do you think requests for exam remarking will increase this year? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. Indyteach

    The reason why there are so many re-marks in independent schools is that almost all re-mark’s are paid for by the parents, unless the school thinks there has been a genuine marking error on a particular paper. Almost all GCSE re-mark’s are requested because the student is 1 mark off the next grade (usually A or A*) and the parents think it’s worth £40 a punt to see if they can get it to go up a grade. Most A level re-mark’s are because a University place depends on it, but a large portion are about being 1-2 marks off an A or A* and trying to see if it’s possible to go up a grade for a £50 wager.

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