The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, about the manner in which the marking of GCSE English this summer has caused "great distress to some of our most vulnerable pupils". He has also asked for reassurances that proposed changes to GCSEs generally will enable students from poorer backgrounds to continue to flourish.
In a letter which covered a range of subjects, the bishop, who is chair of the Church of England's Board of Education, said: "I also need to reflect the great distress to some of our most vulnerable pupils caused by the debacle over GCSE English grades this year. This is a considerable affront to natural justice and efforts to raise the aspirations of pupils from less favoured backgrounds are not made any easier. I would very much like to hear how the changes you propose to GCSE examinations will enable students from the same demographic to achieve and move on to the next stage of their education."
The Rev Jan Ainsworth, the Church of England's chief education officer, said: "We recognise that grade boundaries are adjusted during the process but the shift in the English C/D boundary was exceptional. It has disproportionately affected those children who have had to overcome greater difficulties in reaching the top grades. We are amazed at the loss of talent that has been the result."