ASCL welcomes clarification over GCSE grading

28 March 2017

Education Secretary Justine Greening has today written a letter to the House of Commons Education Committee about the new GCSE grading system.

Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We are pleased that the Department for Education has decided to use new descriptions about the value of Grade 4 and Grade 5 in the new system. Previously, it had referred to Grade 5 as a ‘good pass’ and we felt that this devalued the achievement of a Grade 4. Its new terminology is a sensible measure and we are pleased that the Secretary of State has listened to our representations.

“It is also helpful that the DfE has decided to report on both Grade 4 and Grade 5 in the school performance tables. Schools share the government’s ambition to raise standards further. However, it is not realistic or fair to arbitrarily raise the ‘bar’ to the new Grade 5. The inclusion of Grade 4 in the performance tables helps to provide a more balanced and complete picture.

“We are also pleased that the DfE has now indicated that Grade 4 will remain the level that pupils must achieve in order not to be required to retake English and maths post-16. Previous guidance had indicated that it would move to Grade 5 after 2019 and we did not think this was fair or consistent. This change is therefore a positive step forward.”