MEDIA BRIEFING: HMC and NAHT respond to Ofqual’s release of new data today: Perceptions of A levels, GCSEs and Other Qualifications in England: Wave 14

29 June 2016
Posted by Heidi Salmons

In response to Ofqual’s release of data today: Perceptions of A levels, GCSEs and Other Qualifications in England: Wave 14, NAHT and HMC have released the following joint statement.

“We remain committed to helping the regulator increase confidence in reliable and fair public examinations. However, these results show that overall, head teachers’ trust in the accuracy of exam marking continues to drain away. 

“This is particularly concerning given our advice over new reforms to exam grade challenges has been ignored by the regulator. Instead of listening to professional teachers, Ofqual has responded by making it even harder to appeal in future. This may make the topline statistics look better, but look underneath and there will lie a different story.

“It remains vital that everyone can have confidence in the exams system. At present that isn’t the case. We have asked for robust and fair remarking to help restore trust and will continue to press for that with Ofqual.”

“HMC and NAHT would draw attention to the following statistics from the current Ofqual report”:

  • 42% of the 200 head teachers polled felt that the current enquiries and appeal system is unfair compared to 29% who think it is fair.
  • 49% of head teachers do not believe that GCSE standards are maintained year-on-year. The figure for all groups polled is 34% (down from 35% the year before)
  • 25% of all respondent groups felt that the marking of GCSE had deteriorated compared to the previous year; this builds on 25% saying the same thing in 2015.  The figure for head teachers was 58% in 2016; this builds on 55% saying the same thing in 2015
  • Head teacher trust in A level has increased since last year from 79% to 85%
  • 42% of head teachers feel that compared to last year, the accuracy of marking has deteriorated (building on 47% who said the same thing in 2015).  Head teachers are considerably more likely than other groups to feel negative in this way.  Figure for all groups in 2016 was 22% and in 2015 23%


Note to editors:

For the full Official Statistics, please click here.

NAHT represents more than 29,000 school leaders in early years, primary, secondary and special schools, making us the largest association for school leaders in the UK.  We represent, advise and train school leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  We use our voice at the highest levels of government to influence policy for the benefit of leaders and learners everywhere.  Our new section, NAHT Edge, supports, develops and represents middle leaders in schools.

The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) represents 281 leading independent schools in the British Isles. They include coeducational, single sex, day and boarding schools and educate more than 220,000 children. Our members lead schools that are distinguished by their excellence in pastoral care, co-curricular provision and classroom teaching. HMC is a thriving, pro-active association of leading figures in school education. See

For further information please contact:

Sue Bishop, Director of External Relations, HMC

Mobile: 07787 294808

Email: [email protected]

Steven George, Head of Press & Campaigns

Mobile: 07970 907730

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