Salford Council reckons that up to 3% of the city's young people who took GCSEs last June missed out on getting the required grades and is joining with around one hundred councils around the country in taking legal action to sort it out.
Pupils, parents, teachers and opposition parties were furious this summer when it emerged that it was harder to pass an English GCSE exam in June than one taken in January, as regulators had secretly changed the success criteria. As a result, in Wales the Government ordered all papers to be re-marked. But in the rest of the country the results stood.
John Merry, Salford Council's Assistant Mayor for Young People, told the Salford Star today that he considers it discrimination against those who had taken the exams in Salford in June.
"There is a whole cohort of young people in Salford who have been disadvantaged by the decisions that have been taken" he says "We're talking tens of kids, in the hundreds probably. It all seems to me like discrimination against the young people who took the exam in June rather than in January. If they'd taken the exam in January those people who had their grade Cs taken away from them would have got them. That seems to me to be rather unfair."
Those named on the court action are the exam regulator Ofqual and the awarding body Edexcel but Merry admits that "it's clear that we're directing this at the Government…Michael Gove won't be on the face of it but one of our concerns is whether Gove directed them to do what they did."
The Council is also calling for an independent inquiry to uncover what role Michael Gove did actually play in excluding Salford's young people from gaining good qualifications.
"55% of our young people have five A-Cs including English and Maths, and we think it could have been up to 3% more" Merry argues "The point is that it's completely unjustified because they moved the goalposts without telling anybody and we find that unacceptable. I'd like to think that we're doing this on behalf of the people of Salford, and our young people who have been extremely badly treated."
And, for once with Salford Council, not many people will be objecting to the cost of the court action.
"For one kid it's costing him potentially a place at college or university in the future, and if we think that's unjustified it's worth taking the action" Merry concludes "It's not going to cost us a fantastic amount at this stage, given the number of local authorities that have joined in. But I do think this is really, really important."
…And so would any parent whose kids have missed out on academic success by the date or the place where they happened to take their exams.
Watch this space for further developments