Bedford councillor welcomes Government u-turn over A-level and GCSE grading

Students will be getting their GCSE results on Thursday

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 1:04 pm

A Bedford councillor and the town's MP have welcomed the Government's u-turn on A-level and GCSE results.

Ofqual announced yesterday (Monday) that A-level and GCSE results in England will now be based on teachers' assessments of their students, unless the grades produced by an algorithm are higher.

It follows uproar after about 40% of A-level results were downgraded by exams regulator Ofqual, which used a formula based on schools' prior grades.

Cllr Hilde Hendrickx

GCSE results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland come out on Thursday.

After hearing from several devastated and furious pupils who had their grades downgraded, Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston was compelled to write immediately to the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on Friday asking him to reinstate teacher assessed grades.

Following the u-turn by the Government, Mohammad Yasin MP said: “Through no fault of their own, young people were left reeling at the prospect of a future that looked very different to one they envisaged in February, with almost 40% of predicted grades downgraded.

“What’s particularly galling is that since Friday, it has become clear that the algorithm used by Ofqual to standardise A Level results not only failed to trust the very same teachers who best know their pupils, but was by its very nature unjust.

“The algorithm used two crucial factors, firstly, how students were ranked in ability, and secondly, how well their school or college performed in recent years.

“On an individual level, this was a disastrous tactic, inevitably meaning that high achieving students would likely only be recognised as such if they attended a high performing school or college, immediately giving more disadvantaged pupils lower odds of being given the high grades they deserved.

“Indeed, the impact was not only felt by state schools, with independent schools locally also seeing large numbers of pupils downgraded."

Commenting on the Government’s u-turn on exam grades, Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat Children’s Services spokesperson, cllr Hilde Hendrickx said: “It is welcome news that the Government has finally bowed to pressure and belatedly made the right decision, for both A-Level and GCSE students.

"Young people here in Bedford Borough and across the country who have suffered at the hands of this broken algorithm have had days of unnecessary uncertainty and distress.

“I want to congratulate GCSE and A-Level students across Bedford Borough for their achievements in difficult circumstances, and to thank teachers and school staff for their hard work on their behalf.”

Mr Yasin added: “I would like to pass on my congratulations to all pupils who received their A Level results on Thursday, and who I hope will now be able to obtain the results they deserve, and I wish all GCSE students the best of luck for Thursday when their results are announced.”