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Thousands of Norfolk students face GCSE resits after reforms

Exam pressure (4141493)
Exam pressure (4141493)

Nearly four in every 10 Norfolk students failed to pass their English and maths GCSEs this year, according to the Department for Education.

Figures for the 2017-18 academic year show that 38 per cent of students didn’t reach the required passing grade in the subjects.

Those 2,846 students are now facing compulsory resits in June next year.

A total of 7,490 students took their GCSEs this year. Most of the exams are now graded on a 1-9 scale under the new system.

A pass grade, previously a C, is now a 4, with the top score of 9 reflecting the need for a grade higher than the previous A*.

The Government has defined a grade 5 as a ‘strong pass’, which would fall between a B and a C in the old system.

It insists its reforms are leading to an increase in standards.

But the Association of School and College Leaders, an education union, said that publishing how many pupils achieved a ‘strong pass’ is “an extremely confusing message for young people, their parents and employers”.

General secretary Geoff Barton said: “The result is that many young people will have felt deflated and uncertain after taking this summer’s exams, despite having worked their hardest.

“It cannot be right that we have a system which leaves so many students feeling crushed, rather than proud.”

Pupil attainment at GCSE level and individual pupils’ progress since starting secondary schools also form part of the school ranking system.

GCSE students in Norfolk had overall attainment scores that were slightly worse than the scores of other students in the East of England, and behind the national average.

Progress scores show that a typical GCSE student from the area did about as well as other pupils in England who started secondary school with similar results at Key Stage 2.

But the National Education Union, which represents teachers, claims the performance measures used by the DfE to create school league tables are unreliable.

However, schools minister Nick Gibb said students had "risen to the challenge" of the reformed exams.

He added: “These new qualifications will ensure pupils have the knowledge and skills they need for future success, and that every child is able to realise their full potential.”

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