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A Level results 2020: Education secretary Gavin Williamson is ‘not fit for the job’ says Brent union rep

PUBLISHED: 16:43 18 August 2020

File photo dated 17/8/2020 of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson who has resisted calls to resign over his handling of A-level and GCSE grades in England, but he has apologised to thousands of students for the distress caused. PA Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 18, 2020. The Government announced a U-turn on Monday when it said students would be able to receive grades based on their teachers' estimates following anger over the downgrading of thousands of A-level grades. See PA story EDUCATION ALevels. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

File photo dated 17/8/2020 of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson who has resisted calls to resign over his handling of A-level and GCSE grades in England, but he has apologised to thousands of students for the distress caused. PA Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 18, 2020. The Government announced a U-turn on Monday when it said students would be able to receive grades based on their teachers' estimates following anger over the downgrading of thousands of A-level grades. See PA story EDUCATION ALevels. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

A Brent union representative who described the government’s handling of exam results as a “whole fiasco” has welcomed a policy U-turn.

Thousands of pupils studying A Levels this year saw their marks “downgraded” after the government calculated their results on the basis of a controversial modelling system.

The key factors included ranking order of pupils and previous exam results of schools and colleges.

But in a U-turn on Monday (August 17), teachers’ estimates will be awarded to students unless the computer algorithm gave a higher grade.

Jenny Cooper, Brent National Education Union (NEU) joint district secretary, said the education secretary Gavin Williamson is not “fit for the job”.

“The government has rightly done a U-turn now that their moderation system has been exposed as being unfair and disproportionately affecting more disadvantaged students.

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“What we need now is a review, as is proposed in Scotland, of the way students are assessed, in England and an acknowledgement that teachers are the experts here.”

Two days before the A Level results were due on August 11, the government announced students could accept their calculated grade, appeal with a valid mock result or sit autumn exams.

“This whole fiasco has exposed the fact that our government views our young people as tranches of data, not as individuals,” she said.

She added: “Unfortunately the government acted too late to protect the futures of many young people who had already lost out on university places.

“For that reason we believe the education secretary is not fit for the job.”

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has resisted calls to resign over his handling of A Level and GCSE grades in England, but he has apologised to thousands of students for the distress caused.

He said: “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.”


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