PRESS RELEASE: HMC and NAHT regret announcements by Ofqual on changes to appeals against exam marks and grades

26 May 2016
Posted by Heidi Salmons

State and independent school leaders believe that the new regulations will be less transparent, less rigorous and will erode confidence further that marks and grades are sufficiently accurate.

HMC and NAHT have today (May 26) responded to announcements by exam regulator Ofqual on changes to the way in which exam boards must deal with challenges by schools and colleges to the marks and grades they award each summer.

Peter Hamilton, Chair of HMC’s Academic Policy Committee and Headmaster of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys' School, said:

“Despite the regulator’s claims, HMC and NAHT believe that the changes Ofqual have announced today will make the proper review when marks and grades are challenged by schools and colleges less clear, less consistent and less fair.

“We are especially concerned that the proposals do not commit the regulator to ensuring that each candidate passing through the exam system has their papers marked and graded with the necessary high levels of consistency and precision. Without this, all claims about fairness ring very hollow.”

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of NAHT, said:

“The new test to be applied to exam marks and to grades that are challenged – that they are merely ‘reasonable’ – makes things more vague than they already are.

“We agree that the current system has arbitrary features and this is why, with HMC, we have called for Ofqual to implement the method of re-marking that its own research shows is the most reliable and fair.  We regret that they have not implemented their own research findings.

“We wish to work closely with the regulator to increase the confidence of teachers, parents and students that exam grades are accurate. Unfortunately we think it is likely that today’s announcements will have a further adverse effect on confidence.”


Note to editors:

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 278 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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