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GCSE Results and the Law

View profile for Andrew Barrowclough
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Today thousands of students across the U.K have been given their GCSE results and the vast majority will have worked hard and will have been appropriately rewarded with good grades. Our specialist education law solicitors are however often contacted at this time of year by unhappy students or parents of those students who have not achieved well.

The legal position of those students is difficult. Unlike a University student a GCSE student does not pay fees so there is no contractual relationship between the teaching provided to them by their school and the student. All schools however do have a duty of care to ensure that they provide an adequate and appropriate education. If they have not done so a student may have recourse to the courts to sue for educational negligence. Such actions are however difficult due to the costs involved.

Another area where our education lawyers are consulted relates to a failure to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students. Sometimes either the school have not made the application correctly or the exam board have unreasonably failed to give sufficient adjustments to allow the pupil to be put on a ‘level playing field.’ A legal claim in that respect would need to be brought for discrimination in accordance with the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Challenging a grade of B when a student should have been given an A in the opinion of that student and parents is very difficult. This is because challenging academic judgement is something that courts are reluctant to become involved with. Some common ways that our specialist education law solicitor team attempt to dispute a GSCE result however are as follows:

  • There has been a procedural irregularity in the examination itself that affects all students.
  • The exam board have failed to give more time or access arrangements for a disability.
  • The marking process shows a manifest irregularity.
  • During the course of the year very poor or sporadic teaching was provided.
  • Inadequate/ no examination prep was organised by the school which hugely disadvantaged the pupil.
  • The exam question was unfair as it did not follow from what was taught during the year.

If you would like assistance to challenge your GCSE grade then please do contact one of our education law solicitors today on 02920 291704.