Right of Free Appeal

Graphic showing student with disappointing exam resultsThird of students grades downgraded - they must have a free right to appeal.

More than a third of results in England (35.6%) were downgraded in at least one A Level grade yesterday, following the handling of results by the Government which has come under much criticism. North Devon students can appeal to receive their mock results, but at a cost to schools, colleges and in many instances - families.

Grades have been badly received following news that they were amended based on historic results for schools. Costs for appeals are as much as £120 depending on exam board and the reason for appeal. The cost is incurred should the grade not go up. Schools and colleges are the recipients of the fee, but with many establishments passing these to students as procedure.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding pupils have the chance to appeal their grades directly at no cost. This would involve them presenting evidence that best reflects their performance and progress.

Will Topps, North Devon Councillor for Bickington and an English teacher at Pilton Community College, said: 

"It is hugely unfair that students from state schools and colleges have been more heavily downgraded than their peers at private schools, and even more unfair that they are being priced out of appealing these results. Over the years I've taught many students who have surprised their teachers and achieved better grades than expected - this year those students haven't been given the chance and are being limited by the Tory government. 

"I and my colleagues spent hours agonising over the awarding of Centre Assessed Grades for students and so did lecturers and teachers at A-level. It makes me angry that the government has seemingly ignored this hard work. It's just another example of this government ignoring expert advice and simply doing as it pleases."

Alex White, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for North Devon, said:

“It is completely unacceptable for any student to be downgraded based on their family income, or any other factor. What's more, our local students should not be disadvantaged due to the underfunding of schools in North Devon. I'm conscious that this shouldn't be politicised - this is about ensuring fairness for our young people in North Devon, I'm calling on the Government and the Tory MP for North Devon to ensure these students get free access to appeals."

Alex White attended school locally at Chulmleigh Community College.

Schools in North Devon receive £350 less per pupil, per year, raising concerns about the level of access our pupils will have to appeals and fair grades compared to their counterparts in other parts of the country. Many young adults in North Devon will feel as though they have received lower results because of past performance at their school, because of an algorithm.

Sharon Marshall is Head Teacher at Ilfracombe Academy. Mrs Marshall said to North Devon Gazette: “I think everyone is aware, not least students and their families, that the government has mismanaged grading this year.“This has led to a great deal of anxiety and some students being unfairly moderated down in their grades.

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