The storm that has arisen over the GCSE results on 23rd August, particularly as regards English, shows no sign of abating.  The Chief Regulator at Ofqual has promised to “look closely at how the results were arrived at...quickly, but thoroughly”. A number of legal actions have been taken or are contemplated.  ASCL and Leeds City Council are looking at legal action and headteachers up and down the country are said to be demanding mass re-marks.  This pressure may be enough to secure redress for students.   However, making examinations more difficult whilst at the same time raising the floor standard from 35% 5 A* - C GCSE passes to 40%, is a double bind for schools.   Some schools may therefore unexpectedly find themselves below that floor standard and facing the threat of being forced into academy status, very likely with a partner not of the school’s own choice.

Schools that face this threat need to understand their legal position and options before they are overtaken by circumstances.  There may be internal steps that need to be taken to improve the quality of teaching and these may pose difficult HR and employment law issues.  There may also be public law aspects of threats of intervention that need to be explored.  It may be that properly constituted collaborative arrangements should be considered.  Roger Inman, Partner and Head of Education at Stone King comments: “The DfE’s pressure on standards was suddenly ratcheted up a notch last week by the change in grade boundaries in English GCSE. This has inevitably pushed more schools than expected below the new 40% floor standard for “good” GCSEs including English and Maths.  Schools are strongly advised to revisit and where possible strengthen the defence of their GCSE standards to minimise the risk of DfE intervention and compulsory academy conversion, or alternatively look at an orderly joining of an existing academy chain giving the school the maximum control over its future”.


For further information or advice please contact

Roger Inman
07946 181235
Click here to email Roger