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Hornchurch headteacher remains optimistic despite challenges preparing pupils for new GCSE grading system

PUBLISHED: 10:45 09 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:36 09 August 2017

There is just over two weeks to go before teenagers around the borough collect their GCSE results. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

There is just over two weeks to go before teenagers around the borough collect their GCSE results. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

A teacher remains optimistic that pupils will achieve GCSE success despite difficulties in preparing them for exams due to the controversial new grading system.

This year, English language, English literature and maths will receive numbered grades.

A nine is equivalent to A* on the old system whilst a one is about the same level as an old G.

A teacher in Havering said he believed the new system had increased pressure on pupils and schools.

According to Dave Malbon, assistant headteacher at The Albany, Broadstone Road, Hornchurch, there has been challenges in preparing pupils.

“It has been a lot more difficult as we have nothing to compare [results] with,” he said.

“That is the issue. It’s a case of not knowing what good looks like. There’s been a lot of toing and froing about if grades four or five would be acceptable standards and equivalent to the old C and B grades.

“No one knew for a long time, but they [the government] settled on four as acceptable.

“It’s been difficult to know what to enter children for, foundation or higher.

“It’s a big decision for the children. If entered for foundation, they can only get so and so grade.

“If entered higher they can fall off the edge.”

In April, the new grading system was criticised by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASWUT).

Speaking at an annual conference in Manchester, representatives warned the reforms narrowed “the range of educational opportunities for young people”.

NASUWT general secretary, Chris Keates, said: “These changes have been driven by political imperative, rather than the needs of young people.

“The changes to exam grading have created huge uncertainty for pupils, teachers, parents and employers which will be difficult for schools to manage.”

Despite the challenges, teachers have worked hard to ensure youngsters are prepared.

Mr Malbon added: “Pupils are excited. We are quietly optimistic. We have prepared them as best we can.”

A Havering Council spokesman said: “Schools have been aware that these changes were coming for two years and will have made preparations as they see fit to suit their students.”

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