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11KBW barristers are going head to head as a judicial review into the GCSE English controversy begins this morning.
Clive Sheldon QC has launched the judicial review on behalf of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), which is being led by Lewisham Council in-house lawyer Troy Robinson and includes a number of local authorities.
The action has been brought against AQA and Edexcel exam boards as well as exam regulator Ofqual, over decisions by the boards to increase the boundary for a grade C in GCSE English between January and June this year.
A Chinese wall is in place at the set as Sheldon, who is leading Joanne Clement and Joseph Barratt, is up against 11KBW’s Nigel Giffin QC and Christopher Knight for Edexcel, instructed by dispute resolution partner and judicial review solicitor advocate Andrew Lidbetter of Herbert Smith.
AQA has also turned to 11KBW, with partner Bill Gilliam and senior associate Siân Jones-Davies, head of Eversheds’ national student issues group and education dispute management group, instructing Clive Lewis QC and Jane Oldham.
Ofqual has instructed Wragge & Co public law and regulation partner John Cooper, who has instructed Helen Mountfield QC of Matrix Chambers.
Representing exam board Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations as an interested party to proceedings is 11KBW silk Peter Oldham QC, instructed by CMS dispute resolution partner Omar Qureshi.
The three-day hearing began this morning at the High Court.
The claim is that the decision to raise the GCSE English C grade boundary and a failure by Ofqual to address the issue left thousands of teenagers with lower than expected grades in the subject.
The alliance claims that as a result of these decisions, an estimated 10,000 pupils who took their English GCSE exam in June missed out on a C grade, and is asking for papers taken this summer to be regraded.
Sheldon is regularly instructed for the Government. In the summer he was successful in preventing a judicial review of the decision to convert a school into an academy from going ahead, having been instructed by Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove (11 October 2012).