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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 August 2012

Gove stole our exam grades!

GCSE changes to prepare for more academies

Derek McMillan, Mid Sussex Socialist Party
NUT protest outside the Department of Education by teachers and parents opposed to the GCSE regrading in August 2012, photo Neil Cafferky

NUT protest outside the Department of Education by teachers and parents opposed to the GCSE regrading in August 2012, photo Neil Cafferky   (Click to enlarge)

Newspaper headlines about GCSE results are predictable. If the results show improvement it is "proof" that standards are slipping. It is nothing of the sort. This year's results give the lie to that assertion.

The results are worse this year because Gove has moved the goalposts. Raising the GCSE A* - C benchmark from 35% to 40% is a dirty political manoeuvre.

English results have been hit particularly hard by the last-minute shifting of the goalposts leaving teachers who had reliably been able to predict 'C'-grades for their students having to console Year 11s who have instead been awarded a 'D'-grade. Pupils who would have passed are now labelled as 'failures' on the whim of a Tory minister. If he raises the benchmark high enough nobody will pass. No doubt he would be delighted because then every school would be a 'failure' and could be forced to become an academy!

And who does Gove blame for this manufactured 'failure'? The teachers of course. Perversely he claims that this is further evidence for his educational policy of removing the requirement for Qualified Teacher Status from academies so any Tom, Dick or Harriet can teach.

The policy is clearly aimed at undermining teaching unions by flooding schools with underpaid, unqualified teachers. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) dishonestly claims that this will enable "brilliant" people to come into schools to replace all the teachers. And presumably they would stop being "brilliant" if they trained as teachers and were paid a teacher's wage.

Apparently that is how things work on planet Gove. The unions need to introduce him to the real world.


At a rapidly organised protest outside DfES 50 teachers and parents loudly opposed the GCSE regrading. The protest was called by London National Union of Teachers (NUT) NEC and Socialist Party member Martin Powell-Davies on the initiative of Lewisham NUT members.

In the tube station after the protest one worker from the DfES approached Socialist Party members who were holding "Gove stole my grades" placards. Nodding to the placards he said; "We have an even lower opinion of him than you. We have to see him everyday!"

Martin said: "Many students' hopes have been dashed. Many schools also now face the threat of forced privatisation as they struggle to meet Gove's imposed 40% GCSE benchmark. Many teachers will also fear the threat of 'capability' proceedings and loss of performance-pay awards as a result of this scandal.

"Behind this disgraceful gerrymandering of the GCSE results stands Michael Gove. This unfair downgrading of students fits his dangerous agenda perfectly - to blame teachers for 'failing' students, to dissuade young people from pursuing further education and, above all, to provide an excuse for turning even more schools into unaccountable academies while dismantling elected local authorities."

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In The Socialist 29 August 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Paralympics, Atos scandal, Remploy closures... Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy!

Build for a 24-hour general strike!

The Julian Assange case

Galloway's ignorant comments

Gove stole our exam grades!

Crisis services handed over to charity food banks

Them & Us

Socialist Party workplace news

Building workers fight pay cut threat

Sparks protest at London Crown House site

Local government pension scheme

Sheffield recycling workers to resume strike action

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike

Jobs and homes, not racism

East Midlands: Save our ambulance service

NHS: Unions must defend national pay bargaining

TUSC councillor rejects Walsall cuts 'consultation'


Prison work - 3 a day is exploitation for profit

Women's prisons - Con-Dems' 'reforms' mean cuts and privatisation

International socialist news and analysis

Norway: Mass murderer Anders Breivik gets life sentence

Kazakhstan: Human rights campaigner Vadim Kuramshin freed

Reviews and comments

Leon Trotsky: A revolutionary's life

Fight council tax benefit cuts

The 'madness' of building homes

Socialist Party news

Notting Hill carnival-goers support Lonmin miners

Socialist Party summer camp

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Save our computer server!


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