With Mishal Husain. GSCEs in January were easier than in June; the regulator explains why that is OK. Why are Russian billionaires fighting in English courts?
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Anyone hoping for a better grade in their GCSE English this summer,
tough, you are stuck with your result, even though we know, six
months before you would have had an easier ride. The exam regulators
agree GCSEs were marked less generously than in January. They
are not about to do anything to placate students or teachers.
make as mock reeft league tables, they are meaningless, unless you
know when schools entered their students for GCSE. The Chief
Regulator at Ofqual will explain why it is OK for some students to
get lucky. The man who decided to fight his
domestic feud in front of a judge. Too bad she didn't see her way.
Today she tried to rewrite Russian history, it is not allowed by an
English judge in a court. Debate whether the English courts got it
wrong. Why is London the place for legal battles, entirely about
Russia. The exam regulator has dashed hopes
that English GCSEs from this summer might be revisited, despite a huge
outcry over thousands of students in England who did worse than
expected. Ofqual admitted today that June's exams were marked more
harshly than the same exam taken in January. But said today, that's
life, the January candidates got a lucky break. The problem is,
thousands of 16-year-olds are seeing their plans for the future
thrown into the balance. And are wishing they were in the small
percentage of those who had gone into the exams six months earlier.
In the row over GCSE grading, today was the turn of the exam regulator
to offer its submission. And answer question 1, what, if anything had
gone wrong? The job we have to do is to make sure that standards are
maintained and standards are right. We know that was the case in June,
we can see that in January there was a level of generosity, a very
small number of students there got a lucky break. No lucky break at
Burlington Danes, one of the education secretary's favourite
academies. Student took the exam in June, the school's senior teachers
saw the number of those getting five good GCSEs fall from 75% last
year to 64%. I'm not in a position to judge whether the grade
boundaries were too generous in January. All I know is it is not
fair. I felt sick, actually, when I got the results. I was so shocked
on the day the English results came in, I can really remember my
feeling on that day, when we just, when D after D after D came out on
the results. I couldn't believe it. We were in a total state of shock.
For the first time, since 1988, the percentage of pupils getting A*-C
in English language fell from 65.4% to 63.9% this summer. This year's
English GCSE was a new exam, part marked in schools, part by Exam
Boards. In March it emerged to get a C grade on the AQA foundation
paper, that some students sat in January, required 43 mark, teachers
worked on this basis, last week we learned that boundary had shifted
for the June exams, up to 53 marks, and boundaries were raised for
course work too, and other boards. We are happy with grade boundaries
changing between years, but not within the same year. I think
that's been the issue. It's been particularly with the control
assessments, or the work done in school, where a piece of work is
worth a C in January, and a D in June. That is where it seems
completely unfair. That's for exactly the same piece of work?
It is important to be clear that, as a school, we want to raise
standards, and we want exams to become more difficult, more
rigorous exam criteria, we strive for students to do better and
better. However, it just feels that you're differentiating between a
point of entry, if a child was entered in January, as many schools
did early entry, they will achieve better grades than students entered
at the end of the year. Because Ofqual wants to end grade inflation,
it said exam results, or outcomes, must be comparable with those of
previous years. That's hard to do with a new partly modular test,
where students have done some assessments in spring, and got
those grades, and then done a final exam. The whole comparable outcomes
approach is based on, essentially, rationing the number of top grades.
And you can only do that once you see the full picture of every
candidate's performance. And the problem is, with a modular system,
you don't see all that until the end, but you have already awarded
some of the grades on the way. So, I think it is pretty hard to do
that without some kind of adjustment like what we have seen,
you would hope it wouldn't be quite on the scale we have seen, but I
don't think it's really credible that you can get rid of it all
together. If you are a victim of this adjustment, it is hard to
understand. It is pretty clear that it is not us that's really the
problem. It is mainly because they have suddenly changed the grade
boundaries and marked us down. Someone could have missed a C by
one mark. Like you? Yes, but someone who did it in January could
have got a C by one mark, but they got the same marks as me. Ofqual's
deseffectively rewards schools that put pupils in early to -- Ofqual's
deseffectively rewards schools that put pupils in early for exams.
Ironically Michael Gove says he wants this to end, he wants all
students sitting an exam in summer. There is a basic issue of fairness
here, that calls into question the credibility of the way the system
is being run. It cannot be right you will have two students with
similar quality of work, one of who's work is put in January and
they get a C, another who puts it in the summer and they get a D.
This effects life chances, and the ability to go on to college and
sixth form. It makes comparisons between schools much less
meaningful than they normally are. Schools are judged on different
sets of grade boundaries. It makes a mockery of the league tables?
does. They become meaningless, you know when a school entered children
for GCSE in English. Ofqual is offering resits. Head teachers are
furious, and the inquiry is offer, and still threatening legal action.
In our Birmingham studio know is the Chief Regulator of Ofqual
Glenys Stacey. Why is it, whose job -- someone whose job it is to look
at standards, has described today as students getting a lucky break?
The concerns have been expressed quickly from schools and colleges.
There are a good number of units or moduals now underpinning GCSEs. We
have managed to pin it down to a handful of units, some in January
and some in June. We have looked closely at the grade boundary
settings in all of the exam boards, and looked at the professional
judgment of the examers there, and we can examiners in June, and we
can see when most sat the papers, the material was sound, examiners
were able to use the material to set the judgment, and they were
able to use a lot of data and information to make sure their
judgments were right. The point is the comparison between the marking
and the results in June, and in January. How is it acceptable that
luck played a part in a system in a country like our's? If I can come
to that. When these units were first sat in January, first of all,
very few students sat them. If we look at AQA, the biggest provider
for English, only 2 out of every 100 students sat them in January.
What you had there, were professional examiners, looking at
the material, they had precious little to go on. They were new
qualifications as well. So they were setting standards without
really a past history to go on. And we know, having spoken with the
expert, that is particularly difficult in English. I'm sure you
can find all sorts of reasons that all of this has happened, but the
fact of the matter, you accept the system you preside over is not fair
system. It has not been fair to all 16-year-olds who sat GCSE English
this year? Our job as a regulator is to make sure standards are right.
We don't just have to do it for this year. Is it a fair system for
everyone who sat the exam this year? We have to do it for all the
years. We have to make sure standards are right overall. We
have done that. Is it fair to everyone who sat the exam this year,
simple yes or no? It is as fair as it can be. If I can say that some
solutions are on the way. We have spoken about the complexity about
it, and moderate approaches. We are moving away from that. We are
moving to linear examinations and assessments from now on. Would you
like to apologise to those who sat the exam in June, and were marked
more harshly than counterparts six months earlier? What I would like
to say to those who sat the exams in June, is we have looked very
closely to see if there is anything wrong with your grades, and there
isn't. The grades are right. But, nevertheless, we think that you
have expierenceed quite a so the of anxiety and uncertainty, we don't
think that is right. We are very pleased that exam boards are
offering you the opportunity to resit should you wish to do so.
would like to apologise to them? would certainly say things could
have gone better for them, and they haven't been helped by the
complexity of the system, and also by the expectations that have been
set for them. They have been unlucky, then. Luck has been an
unfortunate part of a system that actually should be about fairness
right across the board? They have had proper grades awarded in June.
The people that were lucky were the precious few, if you like, who took
these units in January. So, if the ones in June, if their results are
correct, and if you standby those results, then if you look at the
fact it is the first fall in 24 years of GCSE, then those summer
GCSE candidates were less intelligent than any of those in
the previous 24 years? No, they are not. What has happened is until
this time, we used to have two English qualifications, there was a
change a couple of years ago, it is the first time the exams have come
to full fruition, they are completely different now, there are
three qualifications. The qualification has changed and the
candidates have changed. Some have gone to i-gcse, for example, the
examiners are trying to make sure the same standard is maintained
through change. There is a really important point for the future.
That when qualifications change, like this, it is very, very
difficult for examiners to keep standards maintained. Again, we go
back to this rather unfortunate situation, then, the ones this
summer were unlucky, that happen to be summer GCSE students in 2012?
is not that they were unlucky. They had been studying these
qualifications for two years, they came out with the right grades. The
issue is the way the system work when a few candidates only took the
units earlier, it was very difficult to get the standards
right. It looks like they were right at the time when the
professional examiners were doing it. This story isn't over, are you
preparing for legal action, that is the threat talked about in a
concrete way today? I have heard that. Of course, if that is going
to happen, it is going to happen. What I will say, again, we do have
to maintain standards for last year, this year, next year and so on. We
really can't waver or change, because a few students got lucky in
January. Thank you very much. We have the
master of Wellington college, and the principle of George Green
Comprehensive skal school, in East London.
What do you think of Glenys Stacey's explanation? I'm appalled,
I'm absolutely furious. As indeed are hundreds of head teachers up
and down the country. This is really not going toened here. There
will be legal Chancellor -- to end here. There will be legal
challenges. This is a human story, we have youngsters, those at the C-
D bordeline, those in disadvantaged communities, who have suffered here.
Their whole life chances. Luck has nothing to do with it, this has
nothing to do with standards, it is about making things fit. These are
teething problems? That is not thes' fault, we have followed what
we were asked to do as schools. The nonsense about nuke and -- nonsense
about luck and sitting the exam in January. My students did 40% in
January, and then they did the listening assessment and put those
forward in June. You have students marked under different systems, it
is not right or acceptable. have been talking for years,
disparagingly about grade inflation, are you pleased, do you see this as
the system correcting itself? think it is a good thing that the
endless rise in grades year-on-year has come to an end, after 24 years.
I think it is a good thing for many reasons. I think it will restore
confidence to the system from universities, and from employers,
and the general public, that grade As really do mean what they say. My
school takes the international baccalaureate, it has had zero
grade inflation for 40 years. You can have that and maintain
standards. That was inevitable. But, I think it is really appalling the
way that it has happened. And it is terribly sad for these children.
Who really feel that a big injustice has been done to them. I
think it is very sad for the teachers in those schools, and the
schools themselves, who really cling on these grades. They are so
important to the children, for entry into the sixth form, and
entry into whatever jobs they might go on to do and for university, and
schools. The way they are judged by the Government. I think that the
solution of this November resit seems to be an admission that
Ofqual got it wrong any way. They are being offered the chance for a
resit? What will that help. It will be so hard. Why do you think this
is happening now. The comparable outcome system was a new system.
Michael Gove has said the Exam Boards make independent decision,
what do you think? Michael Gove says that and Ofqual say that, I
don't believe it, and no headteacher I have met believes it.
The Exam Boards have been indirectly affected by the talk of
raising standards. Can I come back to the point about resitting in
November. There seems to be, that neither Ofqual or the examiner
understand how resits work. You can't just resit it in November,
you have completely different controlled assessment, children
have to be taught, prepared and supervised, when they can be all
over the place. It is not possible. They don't understand how schools
workk and how important this is. It is clear to me that Ofqual do not
understand the processes, and the way children are tracked from the
minute they leave primary school to the end game. Raise On-line, the
database we are all judged on, will now be a nonsense. The head
teachers, as I am preparing for Ofsted in the autumn term, our data
is completely up the creek. It is nonsense. The point about the exam
boards, what do you believe about the suggestion, and it is believed
by many people, that there has been an element of political influence,
if not interference? I don't know what the answer is. I very much
doubt that Michael Gove, directly, had had any influence on Ofqual. I
think that was Ofqual, myself, my judgment is that was Ofqual
reaching their own decision about what was right. But, doing it in a
very niave and insensitive way, and the fact you have so many outraged
teachers who are often supportive of Government policy, supportive of
the whole drift, as is Kenny, who has done remarkable work in her
school to raise standards. People are appalled by this, and it shows
a lack of sensitivity and preparation. If this was a new
system and thatch harder to get the C grades. Or confidence, are Ofqual
good enough to be doing the very important job of regulating the
exam boards? We should have been prepared for it. Shocks should not
have been allowed to happen. We should have been prepared for it.
They have upset a lot of very decent, hard-working teacher, heads,
schools, and above all, the candidates, the students themselves.
It need not have happened. If is Ofqual up to the job? I have no
confidence. I really have no confidence at all, they had to be
forced into this investigation. The initial reaction was there was no
problem. It was only in response to the unions that made them do this
investigation. It has been very quick and it will not lie there.
When we go back to school on Monday, we will be gathering the views of
parents and the community. Who will certainly not be happy with this.
It don't end here. One of the most expensive court
battles ever heard in England came to an end today, with the final
bill in Abramovich versus Berezovsky estimated at �1 billion.
It was not a good end for Boris Berezovsky, who looks at playing
the bill. The judge dismissed his claims saying he was an unreliable
witnesses and downright dishonest. It is also seen as a verdict on
Vladimir Putin, Mr Berezovsky felt he thought Putin himself wrote the
judgment. It was a battle that consumed three
months of court time. Thousands of pages of evidence. And tens of
millions of pounds in legal fees and costs. A dual between two
Russian tycoons, their chosen weapon, the unveiling blade of
English justice. The challenger, Boris Berezovsky, once the ultimate
oligarch, now an angry exile, the Kremlin's implacable enemy. The
defendant, the man he once regarded as his son, Roman Abramovich, who
stayed loyal to Putin, and came to far outglitter Berezovsky in wealth.
At stake, the �5 billion Berezovsky said Abramovich owed him for his
share in one of Russia's most lucrative oil companies. Abramovich
said Berezovsky never had any such share. Today, the shiny new temple
of truth, that is the High Court's Rolls building, was besieged, as
inside English Jews at the, in the form of Mrs Justice Gloster, agreed
with Abramovich. Sensationally she dismissed Mrs Berezovsky's entire
suit. It took man with all his irrepressible showmanship, to face
down such a draining financial disaster. I'm amazed with what
happened today. Sometimes I had the impression that Putin himself wrote
this judgment. Sometimes I have this impression. Putin, supported
by a London court? Many will see this as a triumph, not just for Mr
Abramovich, but for the reputation of English justice. It has proved
its shiny neutrality, by humiliating the man, who most
believed in Britain and British institution, Boris Berezovsky. And
it is expressively vindicated his opponent, Roman Abramovich, but
also his arch enemy, Vladimir Putin, who has been so angry with Britain
for sheltering his critics. Berezovsky, the judge said, was
wrong to have accused Putin for threatening him. What does it mean
politically, you heard what the judge said about President Putin,
that he put no pressure, it was said? Again, this is one of the
crucial points. Today she tried to rewrite Russian his treatment it is
not allowed by a judge in English courts.
The murky world of 1990s Russia, that Mrs Justice Gloster was
insited to explore, was compared to court to England in the 15th
century. A world of intrigue and skullduggery, where a supreme fixer
like Berezovsky could make or unmake fortunes. You might have
expected her ladyship to suggest, in a judicialiously English way,
that all the characters were -- judiciously English way that all
these characters were as bad as each other, but no, her sword came
down unambiguously on Mr Berezovsky's head. He was a witness
that regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, that could be
moulded to suit his current circumstances. Mr Abramovich gave
careful and thoughtful answers, she said, he was frank making
concessions where they were due. As for Mr Putin, the judge accepted
the evidence of a Kremlin witness, that the Russian President never
intimidated Berezovsky into selling his stake in the TV company, ORT, a
judgment the plaintiff found particularly unhistorical. It is
common knowledge all over the world that I did not sell ORT by my will,
I was under pressure, and even I left Russia and granted political
asylum, and the crucial point was that Putin attempted to control the
mass media. The chief Godfather in this tale, in the court's view, was
apparently not Putin, but Berezovsky himself. The millions
Abramovich paid him to finance his luxury lifestyle, were not shares
in a joint business venture, they were ad hoc payments to the head of
a protection racket. Payments known in Russian as krysha. Although the
krysha is well known in Russia. It is known in the courts as well, in
the Russian courts. This is the first time the essence of that word
and the word was used in the international court. So this is a
very significant judgment all together. In deepest Siberia, there
is another tycoon, who is delighted about that. Mr Derry pass ka, the
billionare alluminium king, has been summoned to Russia to answer
for his huge fortune. One of the claims will be the claimant was a
protector, not a partner. But that claimant, Michael ch. Erney, won't
be here when the -- Cherney, won't be here when the court mites,
wanted on allegations of money laundering, he stays in Israel. The
stampede of rich Russians wanting to lig gate in London seems
unstoppable. The Government wants law to be an exportable product
from the UK. They want London to be seen as a litigation centre around
the globe. But on the other hand, some lawyers would argue that
perhaps, do we really want these oligarchs with perhaps shadey
backgrounds, litigating in London. It is a question of morals for us.
Pwher Berezovsky has learned an expensive -- Boris Berezovsky has
learned an expensive lesson about the blindness of English justice.
Some will hope our courts don't get too much of a taste for rewriting
other country's history. Alex Goldfarb, Boris Berezovsky's
close friend is with us, and volumes volumes volumes head of the
Russian -- Anton Volskiy, head of a Russian T vision station. Boris
Berezovsky chose to bring this case, how do you feel about English
justice today? I'm very disappointed by this ruling. It was
obviously a very subjective ruling by Judge Gloster, who got it all
wrong. I was there, I saw the events that were discussed in court.
I know, for a fact, that Mr Berezovsky was inTim dated by Mr
Abramovich, on behalf of Mr Putin. By passing this judgment, the
implications are that the corrupt and murderous regime of Mr Putin
got a tremendous boost, both internationally and domestically.
You say Boris Berezovsky was intimidated by this setting, the
fact is, he didn't do himself any favour, the judge not only thought
he was unimpressive, but she thought he treated the truth as a
flexible concept, and he was entirely unreliable as a witness?
think the judge made a mistake, to call Mr Abramovich a reliable
witness, is actually laughable as a statement to anyone. That is your
thoughts? Anyone who is Russian knows that. There are credible
claims that Mr Putin's personal beneficiary of the proceeds of this
transaction, and that Mr Abramovich is his actual personal banker.
Anyone who reads the Financial Times can see the evidence of how
Mr Abramovich's money was laundered and used to buy Mr Putin's palace.
What do you make, Anton Volskiy, of that view, that this judgment was
entirely subjective in Alex Goldfarb's view? I cannot say that
it was a subjective thing, it was, as the British courts, objective.
In Russia, by the way, both oligarchs, they don't have a
credible image. They are very unpopular, both of them. Because
everybody knows, everybody doesn't know where the money comes from.
When you look at the case, it is not just about the behaviour of the
oligarchs, the picture of your country was unflattering. It is
wealth being divided up ash trairly, it is Mafia money, and a legal
system not robust enough to hear these cases on home turf? It is
true and not true. We all knew what the Russian economics and politics
used to be in the 1990s. We knew that, cite Shah and all these
things. Prob -- krysha, and all those things. Probably Putin came
into power and said he would make the state of law. It is not
accurate to say Russian oligarchs set their deals here in the court.
Boris Berezovsky is a British resident for more than ten years
already. The same thing with the other trial, Derripaska. These
cases are all about events in Russia, the content of the case has
nothing to do with Britain. After what you have seen happen in this
particular case, given the fact there are more cases on their way.
Would you still advise that London is the right place to hear these
kinds of cases? By default, yes. There is no legal system in Russia.
We have recently seen the case of Pussyriot, there are tens of
thousands of businessmen whose assets were appropriated by people
associated with this regime and who are languishing in Russian jails.
Starting with Mr Korvokovsky. What is important now, the whole
democracy movement now, that is actually opposing Mr Putin's
policies, now feels that the regime got a tremendous boost. Did the
regime get a boost from this, a good day for the Kremlin on the
back of an English judge? There was a comment from the Kremlin today.
They are satisfied with the case because the liar was called a liar.
They say that Berezovsky is a liar, and now it is confirmed by the
British court. I think this was a case about money. Berezovsky wanted
money from Abramovich, he didn't get money, let's not do from this
economic case, money is the biggest thing.
It is Friday night, which mean Review is up next. Kirsty is there.
What have you got for us? We have been bringing you dark
theatre from Edinburgh, Zadie Smith's new book, and a Turner
Prize's winner, weird sounds for The One Show. All that and Bob
Dylan's new album, Tempesst. Join me and my guests in a moment.
In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Mishal Husain.
GSCEs in January were easier than in June; the regulator explains why that is OK.
Why are Russian billionaires fighting in English courts?