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URGENT HEARING FOR GCSE ENGLISH GRADING CHALLENGE

November 12th, 2012

Following consideration of the case on the papers, Mr Justice Cranston has ordered that the judicial review challenge to the grading of GCSE English exams in June 2012 be listed for a 2-day expedited hearing (see BBC News report here).  The hearing is to be on a “rolled-up” basis, i.e. if permission to seek judicial review were to be granted, a substantive hearing of the application would follow immediately. The hearing is expected to take place before Christmas.

The case arises out of the decisions by examination boards, the AQA and Edexcel, to set a grade C grade boundary for English exams in the June 2012 sitting that was higher than the boundary they set in the January 2012 sitting. 167 pupils, 150 schools, 42 local authorities and six professional bodies for teachers are participating in the mass challenge against the AQA and Edexcel examination boards for their decisions in relation to the grade boundary and against the exams regulator, Ofqual, for approving the decisions or failing to reverse them. The grounds of challenge include alleged breach of legitimate expectations and breaches of the principles of fairness and rationality.

Six 11KBW barristers are instructed for the various parties in the dispute: Clive Sheldon QC and Joseph Barrett for the claimants, Clive Lewis QC and Jane Oldham for the AQA, and Nigel Giffin QC and Christopher Knight for Edexcel.

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