Education secretary’s plan to scrap modules

Winstanley students Zara Andrews, Phoebe McGibbon, Mohamed Ismail, Lydia Mills, James Fisher and Rob Lawton meet MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Lisa Nandy, handing in their petition about Michael Gove
Winstanley students Zara Andrews, Phoebe McGibbon, Mohamed Ismail, Lydia Mills, James Fisher and Rob Lawton meet MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Lisa Nandy, handing in their petition about Michael Gove

WIGAN students are lobbying the education secretary because of a disruptive change to their A-level exam format mid-course.

Concerned sixth form students at Winstanley College have drawn up a petition, having accused Michael Gove of “moving the goalposts in the middle of a game”.

The pupils - led by student union president Mohamed Ismail - are asking for the re-introduction of January modular exams.

Mohamed, who has earned the moniker “Mobama” due to his enthusiasm for standing up for students’ rights, handed the petition to local MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Lisa Nandy last week.

The 17-year-old said: “I started the petition after our request for a parliamentary e-petition had been rejected as there was already one in process.

“This in itself was a mistake as unlike the one they’d previously accepted, we are not asking for a global restoration of January modules.

“We thought, as members of the current upper sixth, we should be at least able to finish our courses under the assessment conditions we agreed to when we started.

“In any other context such a change in criteria would be likened to a breach of contract, like moving goalposts in the middle of a game.

“But we are only too well aware of Mr Gove’s opposition to modular courses.”

Mohamed explained that the student union had contacted the Department of Education (DofE) and also exam regulators Ofqual.

He added: “The response from our initial inquiry to the DofE took a very long time to come back.

“When it did, it was from junior minister Elizabeth Truss who told us that it was Ofqual’s decision.

“The head of Ofqual, Glenys Stacey, told us that she had consulted extensively with all relevant parties. Sadly, that didn’t include the students affected who now must do linear exams for the first time just before university entrance.”

During Ms Nandy and Ms Fovargue’s visit to the college, students quizzed the MPs on a range of issues.

AS-Level student Zara Andrews pressed them on the economics of the HS2 rail proposal. And A2 law student Rob Lawton asked the Labour politicians about the electability of their party under the leadership of Ed Miliband.