Speakers announced for head teachers’ GCSE summit

The education leaders who will be speaking at a Leeds summit next week to keep the GCSE grading issue live have been announced today.

Alongside some top names in education are local leaders who have been speaking out on the issue, and are passionate about the challenge to ensure fair treatment for all young people whose GCSEs were unfairly graded. The summit will be opened by Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for children’s services who has been a leading voice on this issue since it came to light in August.

So far, speakers at the summit include:

Russell Hobby – General Secretary - National Association of Head Teachers

Kevin Courtney – Deputy General Secretary - NUT

John Townsley – Executive Principal – Morley Academy

Bill Watkin – Operational Director - SSAT (The Schools Network)

Paul Brennan – Deputy director for learning at Leeds City Council

Mike Gibbons – Principal and Chief Executive - The Grammar School at Leeds

Lucie Lakin – Vice Principal - Standards & Performance - Carr Manor Community School

Being held at Leeds Town Hall on Tuesday 9 October, the not-for-profit summit will allow head teachers, subject leaders and other education professionals to raise their own issues, gain understanding of the national picture and discuss how they can work together to bring about change.

The focus of the summit will be on the unprecedented change in grade boundaries of the English GCSE between January and June this year. This resulted in many young people across the country being awarded a grade D when, if their papers had been marked in January, they would have received a C. Other issues which some schools are having with the grading of different subjects and other GCSE English grades will also be discussed.

The summit is an opportunity for head teachers to keep the issue live and help to shape a co-ordinated response to the DfE consultation on the proposed English Baccalaureate. There will also be an update on the current status of the legal challenge against OFQUAL, AQA and EdExcel.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services said:

“We are really pleased that we have been able to secure some excellent speakers at such short notice. This summit promises to provoke some passionate debate and discussions not only about the unfair grading of GCSEs but also the wider issues affecting the future of secondary qualifications.

“It is so important we do not forget about the young people mixed up in this, who, through not fault of their own, had their work devalued. This summit will help us keep the issue live.”

Leeds City Council was one of the first organisations to raise concerns into the grading of GCSE English, and has been actively campaigning for the fair treatment of all students who sat the exam. Leeds has been leading a consortium involving other local authorities, schools and professional organisations calling for a judicial review on the issue.

The national consortium which includes many Leeds schools as well as individual pupils has submitted a formal letter to the examination regulator Ofqual and exam boards AQA and Edexcel, and are currently awaiting their response.

People who wish to attend the summit, which is being supported by Leeds City Council and sponsors SSAT, NUT, NAHT and ASCL, should contact leeds.gcse.summit@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 395 1050.. A fee of £45 plus VAT is payable, to enable the organisers to cover costs.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the summit - please contact the press office on the details below if you wish to attend.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk