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A-levels: Redbridge students ‘left in the dark’ after government U-turn on ‘unfair’ results

PUBLISHED: 18:45 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:11 18 August 2020

Following an uproar and protests this weekend the government made a U-turn on its A-levels results grading. Picture: PA/Victoria Jones

Following an uproar and protests this weekend the government made a U-turn on its A-levels results grading. Picture: PA/Victoria Jones

PA Wire/PA Images

The government has made a U-turn on its A-levels and GCSEs grading system after critics called it “unfair” and likened it to “a postcode lottery”.

Today the government announced that students will now receive grades by their teachers and not based on the grading system determined by Ofqual, the exams regulator.

After protests this weekend due to what some deemed to be an unfair system, some students in Redbridge are now left in the dark about what the change means for their future.

In the original A-level results issued last week, according to Ofqual, 39.1pc of marks were reduced from those expected, with 35.6pc reduced by one grade, 3.3pc reduced by two and 0.2pc by three.

Lucy Burns, 18, who attended Wanstead High School, was rejected from her two top university choices - York and Lancaster – to study biochemistry after her grades were downgraded from the predicted AAB to BCE in maths, biology and chemistry.

Lucy said the government’s reversal “should be good news for me as I should hopefully still get into my first choice university but I’m not quite trusting it until it happens and I’m still quite worried about whether the university will actually attempt me”.

She said she’s also worried whether, even if the university accepts her, it will have accommodation now that so many people have already been given their offer.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson apologised for the distress the process has caused young people and hopes the change offers certainty and reassurance.

“This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for young people who were unable to take their exams.

“We worked with Ofqual to construct the fairest possible model, but it is clear that the process of allocating grades has resulted in more significant inconsistencies than can be resolved through an appeals process.

“We now believe it is better to offer young people and parents certainty by moving to teacher assessed grades for both A and AS level and GCSE results.”

Council leader Jas Athwal, who wrote to the education secretary before the U-turn to appeal to change the grading system, said he was “absolutely delighted” by the government’s shift.

“This is fantastic news and was the direct result of pressure from teachers, parents and students across the country who organised immediately to campaign for justice.

“The results announced last week were an insult to their hard work and the hard work of our young people and their parents.

“I said last week that the unfair results could not stand and I am overjoyed that the government has finally seen sense.”

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting tweeted: “This is a mess entirely of the government’s making. They now need to bend over backwards to support universities to honour their offers. Inevitably they’re left cleaning up the government’s mess.”

A pupil from Oaks Park High School who didn’t want to be named said students like him have been waiting for their A-level grades from teachers since Thursday but have yet to receive them.

He said: “It’s a shambles because we’ve been left in the dark with no idea when we’ll receive our grades and we’ve just been told to be patient.”


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