28/09/2012 Newsnight


Sanchia Berg reveals what Ofqual told exam boards about GCSE grades this summer. And is it time to bin Page 3 girls? Harriet Harman talks to a former deputy editor of The Sun.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 28/09/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Tonight: Newsnight reveals what really happened with the summer's


great GCSE results scandal. We have got the documents that show


how the watchdog leaned on exam boards to change grades.


Also tonight: Can social unrest derail austerity across Europe?


are the bond market so spooked by protests on the streets?


We have the man who predicted it all on Newsnight 14 years ago.


blimey, look at her. And as close to 40,000 sign the


petition to end the Sun's Page 3, we ask if it's time to bin the pin-


We're joined by Hattie from Good evening. What really happened


with the summer's GCC scandal? This programme has come a step closer to


understanding the sequence of events. Documents obtained by


Newsnight show how Ofqual and leaned on exam boards to change


grades. The aim, as we now know, was to end more than two decades of


grade creep. Sanchia Berg has been going through


the correspondence and is with me now. A strong sign there was


intervention. Yes, we knew there was intervention but what it looked


like we did not know, but now we do. This year's GCSE English grading


was the worst fiasco in history of the exam but thousands of students


expecting that crucial a C grade did not get it. Ofqual said they


did not fix the results and had not told exam boards that the results


should fall but ever since, everybody has been trying to find


out what happened, which is why we put in a Freedom of Information


Bill quest for all the correspondence between the exam


boards and Ofqual, and we have discovered that at least two exam


boards had problems with their grades as though they were coming


in. So the regulator intervened. During a telecoms runs on Friday


the 13th July it with all the exam boards, the Ofqual representative


said that Ofqual could not accept any apparent grade inflation. Four


days later, another teleconferencing with the exam


boards and they were raising Pretty unconditional. They were


saying, grades cannot rise. Ofqual said those remarks should be seen


in the context, that they were seeing the results could only rise


is justified, and this is the first year comparable outcomes came in in


English, which means the result should be on a par with recent


years. Do they justify them? Edexcel and a Welsh board did try


to justify them. Edexcel said there was a serious mismatch between the


examiner's judgments and the required outcomes. But these


objections, even though they were sustained for a long time,


eventually they had to drop them because Ofqual said they would


force them to change their grades if they did not do it voluntarily.


Ofqual was pretty worried about how this would look, bluntly. Yes.


There is a briefing paper from July where a Ofqual official says, how


will we defend the grade boundary changes? And he says the rationale


must be that it... The examiners judgment, rather than the


statistical fix... But a statistical fix is what it really


does look like, especially to Brian Lightman, who is head of the


Association of school and college leaders. He is part of a group


taking legal action against Ofqual at the moment. I think it shows


that what has gone on here has been attempting to manipulate results in


order to meet a statistical outcome and the problem with that is it


does not take into account the actual quality of the pupils' work


and you cannot simply hold down results in order to meet some sort


of expectation without looking at the students'' work and making sure


that pupils actually get their just deserts in terms of the effort that


they have made. And as we heard, the grades did not rise, they fell.


And that is something Ofqual did not anticipate. It was seeking ways


to explain that. We found in this correspondence the message is that


Ofqual has circulated to all of the exam boards the day before the


results were published. Ofqual were telling the exam boards how it


would explain the drop in results. Students from selective schools


were not doing a GCSE English any more, their exams would not show up


in the figures, but eight minutes after Ofqual sent its messages out,


one bounced back from a main exam That was the explanation that


Ofqual gave the following day. Later on it said that there were


other reasons why the fall may have taken place, there were other


changes in the cohort, but it is interesting to see that is what AQA


said and yet Ofqual went ahead with that explanation anyway, so there


are still questions to be answered. It is a very interesting situation.


Thank you. Ofqual refused to appear live on the programme this evening.


Protests in Spain, are riots in Greece, the spectre of another


direly needed a bail-out, just another long week in the eurozone.


Tonight, suggestions that Spanish banks will need another 60 billion


euros in extra capital to ride out the downturn. The Spanish


government has gone tough with posterity and paved the way for


serious spending cuts, but will social unrest destabilise this


For Spanish politicians, this is the world they can control.


Everything goes to a script and timetable. These are the most


rigorous stress tests ever, says the minister, and now, tonight, we


no space need 60 billion euros to save its banks. -- we know that


Spain needs. But this is the world they cannot control. Violent


clashes in Madrid this week, just the latest in a growing wave of


opposition to the cuts Spain has to make to stay afloat. And the


problem is, it is not just Spain. If Portugal's workers took to the


streets in massive numbers last Saturday, faced with a rise in


national insurance that would have taken a month's salary out of their


national pay. We have become used to scenes like this of course, but


not to what happened next. Portuguese government backed down.


For two years, we have seen protests against austerity that


have achieved nothing, more or less, but the Portuguese U-turn has


changed that. Bond investors now have to consider the prospect that


social unrest Candy real things and they are starting to price in the


risk of constitutional crisis normally associated with developing


countries. This man advises the Investment funds that buy and sell


government bonds. They are acutely sensitive to the qualitative


aspects, and one of those his political risk, and this is evident


across the board throughout southern Europe, so what we have


now is a situation where emerging market type risk factors are now


being priced in too many developed markets, and the markets are much


more in tune to these risks but are struggling to come to terms with


the social and political risk. Greek workers, who went on general


strike this week, are facing another 11 billion euros worth of


cuts to come, and some economists believe the austerity plans are


unachievable. This graph shows how much higher labour costs are in


The blue plaque shows where we were three years ago, the red bars the


effects of austerity. But from Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy,


which costs may still have between What happened in Portugal last week


is very significant because it shows that is popular resistance is


strong enough, sooner or later the government will have to change


their stance. That is what the markets are worried about, and


politicians and officials in Brussels and Frankfurt and Berlin


are fearing that more than anything else. The problem is, produced in


Europe has begun to move in ways politicians are finding hard to


cope with. Andalusia has seen rates and supermarkets co-ordinated by an


elected mayor. -- have seen it raids on supermarkets. And in


Catalonia, much of the population wants independence or fiscal


autonomy. I don't think the masses can stop Mariano Rajoy's austerity


measures but I think they can bring down his government. I think there


is every chance that will happen. We will see a must intensify over


the next year, and the ferocity of some of the individual localised


protests this year, when they gather strength and when the


austerity measures at a country, which already has 25% unemployment,


we will see chaos. The if the Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy


looked strong and decisive, the markets might worry less, but it


doesn't, and they do. Spain is not just facing a budget deficit, Spain


is facing a banking, sovereign debt, real-estate, political and


constitutional crisis. They are all feeding off each other. This is


making deficit reduction measures in Spain extremely difficult. I


think that really is the nub of the Spanish problem. This week, scenes


of violence were not new, but their economic meaning might be.


In a moment we will speak to a Spanish MP who speaks to the


government on foreign affairs about this, and the world-famous


economist Martin Feldstein, but first we wanted to show you a clip


from Martin Feldstein's appearance on Newsnight 14 years ago, in which


he made some a marks that are starting to look eerily prescient.


One of the doom-mongers in-Chief is the imminent American economist


Martin Feldstein at Harvard. We are about to pop in on him and get him


to outline way things might turn nasty. If you have more


disagreement, if you have countries that feel they are under the thumb


of others, under the thumb of a process that they cannot control,


and yet they are in their own mind sovereign countries, the temptation


to pull out will be very small, and who knows just what the response


will be from the centre? Well, 14 years on, we can speak to Martin


Feldstein again. He is in Berlin. You predicted this almost to the


word. Has it taken longer than you expected? I don't think I had any


timetable in mind but I think it was clear that trying to force a


common monetary policy and a single exchange rate on such disparate


countries was not going to work. Where do you think this is going?


Well, frankly I am quite worried about Spain in particular. Not just


because of the rioting, but because of the power of the individual


regions. The new plan that the European Central Bank announced, in


which they will buy Spanish bonds as long as Bain sticks to a plan


that has been approved by the European stability mechanism, I


think that is not going to last -- as long as Spain the sticks. I


think at some point, Spain will depart from what they have promised,


because of riots or local regions, and at that point the ECB will have


to decide, do they stop buying the government bonds and allow interest


rates to sort? Or do they keep buying them and weaken the


credibility of the programme? Either way I think it will be bad


news for making progress in Spain. Do you think we will see political


break-up within Spain? More autonomy for some of the regions


like Catalonia? They have a fair amount of fiscal autonomy already.


While they are talking about pulling out, I think the odds of


that are still pretty low. Quite interesting listening to the bond


analyst a moment ago saying that calculated risk now in southern


Europe is like it used to be for the emerging markets, that they are


taking into account all sorts of things they never had to worry


about? Well, in the emerging markets, in east Asia and Latin


America, they could always take the option of devaluing the currency


and allowing their economies to recover. Spain cannot do that. As


long as the euro remains as strong as it is today, we are going to


continued to see large international deficits, large


current account deficits in Spain, and that is going too frightened


the bond markets. You are famous of course for this formula that showed


us originally that the measure of globalisation of capitalism... Do


you think we are starting to Globalised capitalism? I don't


think it is collapsing. What we are seeing is financial markets within


Europe, which were supposed to be strengthened as a result of forming


the euro, they are rapidly breaking down and going back to national


markets, because people are afraid to lend, banks are afraid it to


lend to borrowers in other countries. So we are seeing a


breakdown of credit within the euro-zone. What do you think


happens to the euro-zone and the euro? If we are inviting you back


in another 15 years, what good your prediction be? Let's is a one-year!


It is very hard to say. I think it was a mistake to enter into the


euro in the first place, but it would be very costly in many ways,


economically, politically, to turn the process away. We still could


see some of the countries, like Greece, which are in much worse


shape than Spain and Italy, we could see them leave the euro-zone.


Not immediately, but perhaps after the German election. Do you think


we will see a pressure to more extreme kinds of government as a


result of this social unrest we are seeing, if they can get rid of the


government of Mariano Rajoy, for example? The one government that


seems to be working very well in the peripheral areas is the Italian


government, where experienced bureaucrat, not elected officials,


have been putting together a programme that has been reducing


fiscal deficit in a meaningful way. We are going to move on. Today's


Page Three quads the American philosopher William James on the


perils of pessimism while wearing a tasselled monokini. The debate


about Page Three has never really gone away, but has gained traction


over the past week with a sequence of high-profile comedians and


politicians signing a petition to ended. -- to end it. Look at her!


Where would we be without Page Three? In a much better place, say


many. Beauty queen shocks a council. Sharon Spencer, 22... She is more


It is more than 40 years since the first scantily-clad model made her


bow in the pages of the tabloids. Page 3 is a British institution,


but labelled anachronistic this week by Labour's Harriet Harman,


known by some as Hattie from Camberwell, a moniker she


apparently shared with today's Page Three girl in there Sun. The


pictures were clamours and sophisticated in the early years,


says one of the original Page Three girls. Today, not so much. They are


tacky, and too obvious, and probably inappropriate to be in a


family household. Today's families are different, you mustn't forget


that when Page Three started, it was at a time in the Seventies,


when we were exploding into free love, it was an exciting time, or


freedom, free-spirited people floating about the place with


flowers in the -- in their hair. current, model says Page Three


objectifies women, but in a good way. It is a form of


objectification but any anthropologist will tell you that


it has been imperative for the survival of the human species.


Celebrating sexuality is imperative, and Page Three is celebrating that.


Campaigners against pornography have linked Page Three pictures to


violence against women. But others have seen them to -- as the working


man's old masters. The chap I am talking about is as likely to enjoy


looking at the Dell on page three of these -- of the Sun as his


intellectual betters, as they see themselves are, to go to the Art


Gallery, seeing it painted. Today there is a lot more sex about them


when Page Three began. It is still with us, and there are no shortage


of young women keen to appear in it. However, almost 40,000 people have


signed a petition urging the sun to drop it. -- urging the Sun.


years after winning the right to vote through protest, papers might


actually start to fill pages of with the almost outrageous words of


powerful women, every day when the, whose place -- faces don't need to


be pleasing. It is meant to represent youth and freshness and


it represents natural beauty, we don't have models to have had


plastic surgery on the page. It is legal, we are allowed to publish


those images. It has become an innocuous British institution.


proud of my body, and whatever I do with it in my spare time is none of


the council's business. So, Page Three has its knockers!


One person campaigning for decades against it is Harriet Harman. She


is joined by the former deputy editor of the News Of The World,


Neil Wallis. How do you feel when you have been on this sort of


campaign for more than two decades, and it doesn't seem to have shifted


at all? It is an institution today as much as ever. I think so much


has changed since the Seventies. I think the whole expectation for


women of what they can do with their lives and what they can be in


their lives, I think it is really very old fashioned now, very out of


date. It was always objectionable, the idea that women are most


important as sex objects, but I do just wonder whether or not


sometimes they sit down there in the News Of The World and think,


should we really pack this in? Is this sensible? We have women having


all sorts of campaigns, why have we got this? They may be are saying,


we're not going to be told what to do by a bunch of Wood Lane. What is


it for? I think it is the wrong way round, the question. This is really


about - it does this matter enough that women are campaigning about


edition like this, when it there are frankly most important issues?


You are here now, let's have the debate. What is it for? I don't


believe there is an issue about it really being in debate. Because


nobody really cares. 37,000 women have signed this petition. Not just


women, people. 3 million women reads the -- read the Sun every day.


It is an out rated -- outdated argument. Page 3 is a harmless


picture that has been their back 440 odd years. Real women do not


care about it. What purpose does it serve for you? If it went, with the


paper be worse off? What is the purpose of any picture of an


attractive person? It is a nice picture, it is harmless, adds a


touch of fun to the paper, and why not? If you open any newspaper, and


one of the great things I love about broadsheet is whenever they


illustrate the story, it is always a pretty young woman who


illustrates the story. You look at pages about the City in particular.


I think you would be fair to recognise they usually have their


clothes on. Sometimes! The idea that they have got to have bare


breasts and it is for objectification, and the idea that


women are there to be Lear at. you see the advert for the


Wonderbra? With that woman... It said, hello boys. What was it


selling, on what basis? The truth is, there are many issues. But the


Sun is a newspaper. The paper is full of the stories about how


police and social workers have ignored, for years, the issue about


exploitation of children. That is an issue to campaign on, an issue


to have a petition about. Harriet Harman has done, to be fair.


There are other British newspapers that have a much more vindictive


approach to do some of the women that they portray in their papers,


he doesn't have to be the Sun alone, does it? Yes, but with their Page


Three Women, dressed only in their knickers... The whole point of them


is none other than for them to be Lear at as sexual objects, that is


the point of it. Of course there are a lot of other issues which are


important. But we are entitled to have our say about it without being


accused of not being real women, or being vilified for being frumpy old


harridans. That is the other thing. You want your free speech to


publish these photos, we want our free speech to say, we don't think


that is how you should be looking at women in this day and age,


without being vilified as a result. The issue is, there are far more


serious issues. The people who have launched this petition, putting it


in the Guardian, gaining lot of headlines... You could say that


about anything of you wanted. What happens on Saturday and Sunday in


your paper? They don't run bomb. Because the paper as much more in


the house, so there is much more chance... You don't want families


to see them? The primary leadership of the Sun, the 7 million adults to


read it, are adults. So why did they are good, clean, innocuous fun,


in which case presumably you are not ashamed to have them on any day,


or else you do feel they are slightly seedy and don't want them


in the house at the weekend? That is fairly fatuous, really. 7


million adults choose to look at the paper every day. If they take


it home or not, that is a decision for them. It is a paper aimed at


adults. What we are aware of, not that I work there now is the paper


is very much more family-orientated at the weekend, more television and


sport orientated, so it is much more round the home, and


accordingly, they don't have topless women in it. So why are you


saying that there are no doubts, or thinking again about this? They are


going to be sticking to it, not even having second thoughts, even


though we are in the 21st century? When you look at what is around in


the 21st Century, the idea that a 40 year-old institution should fall


out because if a particular demographic of women deciding they


don't like it - and many of those women who don't even read the paper,


they are asserting their view over the 3 million... You keep saying it


is women, a lot of men have signed it as well. Quite high-profile


people as well. What does high- profile have to do with it? The


fact that some comedians and actresses and might sign up...


what happens... But what are they there for? In their bed -- in their


knickers, with bare breasts, that is the betrayal of Women on page 3.


With respect, who want you to say that people cannot choose to look


at it? Did you read today's? didn't, I don't think had the comes


from Camberwell anyway! I think women should be respected for what


they can do in their lives, and girls should have high aspirations


than just looking good with no clothes on. Surely, in the 21st


century there is more than that two women. I Usain a girl should not


have the right to aspire to be a Page Three girl -- or Usain? We are


going to leave it there. Thank you very much. The front of the papers