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GCSE Grades A-C

John Simkin

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When GCSE was introduced, grades A-C were originally intended to be equivalent to the old ‘O’ level; and that was deemed to be for the top 20% of the ability range. The average standard was originally represented by GCSE grade D.

Last week, Tony Blair, explained why his new educational reforms were necessary. The reason was that state schools had been letting the nation’s children down. That is why he has got to “privatize” our state schools. He asked one interviewer: “Would you want to send your kid to a school that gets you fewer than 30% (children with 5 A-C grades)?” The implication being that these schools were failing to provide a good education for their students.

Blair of course is comparing state schools with independent schools. They do of course get very high A-C passes. There is no secret why this is. Academic research carried out over the last 25 years shows that 85% of the variation in pupil achievement is due to factors outside the school. This is why schools with low middle-class intakes do so badly in examination league tables.

Blair of course expects schools that provide an education for those unable to buy their way into private schools or into a middle-class catchment area, to achieve above average results (“D” being an average grade). It seems that Blair did not get a very good education from his private school.

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A secondary (ie non selective schools) in Tripartite Kent achieving fewer than 30% 5+ A-C's is now considered to be "failing" :lol:

Someone somewhere seems to have moved the goalposts

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