Search

A-Levels: Government makes U-turn after downgrade results ‘fiasco’ comes under fire

PUBLISHED: 18:11 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:47 17 August 2020

Under fire... Boris Johnson who had defended controversial algorithm system for selectiong A-Level grades. Picture: Stockshot, Mike Brooke

Under fire... Boris Johnson who had defended controversial algorithm system for selectiong A-Level grades. Picture: Stockshot, Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Thousands of A-level students are set to see their grades increased after a humiliating U-turn by the Government.

Mayor John Biggs slams Education Secretary (inset) Gavin Williamson's algorithm method that downgraded students' A-Level results. Picture: Mike Brooke and (inset) Dept of EducationMayor John Biggs slams Education Secretary (inset) Gavin Williamson's algorithm method that downgraded students' A-Level results. Picture: Mike Brooke and (inset) Dept of Education

Grades are now to be based on teachers’ assessments rather than the controversial algorithm devised by the exam regulators.

It follows criticism from students, schools, the teachers’ union and even a backlash by Tory MPs.

The mayor of Tower Hamlets who attacked the method to determine results is working with schools to make sure every student who needs to appeal gets the council’s backing.

“Our young people deserve better,” John Biggs said. “The government failed to provide the clarity needed when introducing this new system of awarding results, creating unnecessary stress and potentially impacting on a young person’s life chances.

“Our school staff and students have continued to go to amazing lengths to teach and learn in spite of recent (pandemic) events.”

The council has been in contact with all Tower Hamlets head teachers after last Thursday’s A-Level results to make sure concerned students “contact their school or college, or their university admissions office”.

Government U-turn on A-Level results selection system. Picture: Mike BrookeGovernment U-turn on A-Level results selection system. Picture: Mike Brooke

Prime minister Boris Johnson had previously defended the “robust system” which saw almost four out of every 10 grades reduced from teachers’ predictions.

You may also want to watch:

The PM held crisis talks with his education secretary Gavin Williamson today, following mass protests in central London by thousands of students at the weekend.

The chairman of the exams regulation authority, Roger Taylor, has now publicly apologised for the “uncertainty and anxiety” caused by the fiasco.

He said: “Expecting schools to submit appeals where grades were incorrect placed a burden on teachers when they need to be preparing for the new term, which created uncertainty and anxiety for students. For all of that, we are extremely sorry.”

Teachers slammed the fiasco when their National Education Union called the government’s handling of exam grades a “shameful episode”.

It is now demanding the education secretary lifts the cap on university places so that more A-Level students can continue their studies.

“Young people have suffered enough,” the union’s general secretary Dr Mary Bousted warned. “They have few chances in the jobs market as the country faces rising unemployment and recession.

“This announcement will generate further uncertainty for many students if they’ve been rejected from their first-choice university on the basis of the inaccurate and unjust awarding process.”

Critics have slammed the education department in Whitehall for putting “all the eggs in one basket” through a single set of summer exams, which they said had now come home to roost.

The U-turn also applies to this Thursday’s GCSE results. Those who were awarded higher grades by the moderation process will be allowed to keep them, while for many pupils their teachers’ predictions could see their grades increased.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East London Advertiser