England WILL replace A-level & GCSE grades after Wales replaces marks with teacher’s scores
HUNDREDS of thousands of A-level and GCSE grades generated by computers will be ditched and replaced with teachers’ predicted marks after a huge uproar.
After days of pressure, Boris Johnson is expected to bow to overwhelming pressure from Tories and rip up the whole system just days after it was put in place.
Read our GCSE and A-levels live blog for the latest news & updates
The A-level and GCSE system is expected to be ripped up today for thousands of pupils this afternoon[/caption]
Gavin Williamson and Boris Johnson were forced to make a u-turn after a huge public outcry[/caption]
Students from Codsall Community High School protest at their local MP – Gavin Williamson[/caption]
Scores of Tories from across the spectrum came out today to lash out at the Government’s handling of the crisis, and urged the Education Secretary to fix it before it was too late.
Furious parents, students and politicians have blasted ministers for the unfair decision to mark kids’ teacher predicted grades down using controversial algorithms.
A staggering 39 per cent of A levels were downgraded by a computer algorithm last week – but Boris himself said the system was “robust”.
Students at poorer schools were even more disadvantaged as the models took into account their previous grades – even if the pupil themselves was predicted a string of top grades.
This afternoon Wales confirmed the drastic news, ahead of an expected announcement in England.
It joins Scotland and Northern Ireland, who have already torn up their systems following a huge outcry.
The minister for education in Wales, Kirsty Williams, said today: “For grades issued last week, I have decided that all awards in Wales, will also be made on the basis of teacher assessment.
“For those young people, for whom our system produced higher grades than those predicted by teachers, the higher grades will stand.
“It is clear that maintaining confidence in our qualifications whilst being fair to students requires this difficult decision.
She also announced a fresh probe into the chaos in Wales following the coronavirus crisis.
England is set to follow shortly in an announcement at around 4pm.
It came after:
- Hundreds of kids marched outside Gavin Williamson’s office after the shambles
- The Ofqual boss was blasted for being ‘invisible’ & ‘more secretive than the KGB’ over the hated algorithm
- No10 denied that GCSE grades would be delayed later this week after the shambles last week
- Heads warned that the system was “completely unfit for purpose” and that A-level grades were now lower than the three year average
- Teachers said the reopening of schools in September could be delayed over the huge task of appealing for thousands of kids
- Several universities and colleges said they would honour predicted grades instead of the computer-generated marks
- Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and student Curtis Parfitt-Ford vowed to launch legal action against the Government unless they changed tack
- No Government ministers have been on the radio or TV today to explain the position as critics rounded on Education Secretary Gavin Williamson
Tory MPs are set to have meetings with ministers to explain the changes.
Defence minister Johnny Mercer and Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt were two serving members of te Government to speak out.
Dozens of backbenchers and former ministers soon joined in too, forcing the Government to act.
Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner also came out today to urge change.
She said: “Having looked at the evidence, it seems clear to me that GCSE results this year should be based on centre assessment grades – not the algorithm developed by Ofqual.”
Students have been left furious and devastated after algorithms marked their grades down – as they were unable to take exams due to the coronavirus crisis.
Exams boss Ofqual has said that the teachers’ grades are inflated and therefore will be out of step with other years.
The PM has confidence in the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, and the head of exams regulator Ofqual despite the chaos.
Boris Johnson broke off his Scottish holiday this morning to hold a call with the Education Secretary and other senior officials to discuss the huge change in policy.
The move came just 48 hours after Mr Williamson told The Times in an interview: “This is it. No U-turn, no change.”
Tory MPs – including current serving ministers – rounded on the Government for the shambles and demanded they change course.
No10 repeatedly refused to rule out whether the system would be ripped up this lunchtime, but stressed that GCSE grades would be coming out on Thursday as planned.
Yesterday Ofqual published its guidelines for how to appeal – but swiftly took them down after it emerged they contradicted the Government’s own policy on which grade could be used.
Boris broke off his holiday this morning to take a call on the exams u-turn[/caption]
Students outside his office today called for him to go[/caption]
GAV UNDER PRESSURE
Labour big beast and ex Education Secretary Alan Johnson told The Sun that Mr Williamson should be sacked.
He said: “This job was totally beyond his capabilities. He should go. “They may try to blame it all on Ofqual, but this was Gavin Williamson’s mess and he has to take the bullet.”
Several Tories were rounding on him last week – amid speculation he could lose his job over the fiasco.
EXAMS BOSS BLASTED
Under-fire exams boss Sally Collier was today blasted for being “invisible” and “more secretive than the KGB” during the A Levels fiasco.
The Ofqual boss – a lifelong bureaucrat who earns a whopping £200,000 a year – has not been seen or heard from throughout the fiasco.
Fuming politicians and teachers said she must “show her face” and apologise to pupils let down by the disaster.
They called for her to be put on her final warning and sacked if a way out of the mess is not found.
Tory MP Robert Halfon, chairman of the education select committee, told The Sun: “Ofqual have been more secretive than the KGB.
“They have behaved like secretive cardinals at the Vatican choosing a Pope rather than like officials developing a transparent grading system.
“There is going to need to be fundamental changes at Ofqual when this is all over.”
Former Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw brands the chaos a “terrible farce” and slammed “invisible” bosses at Ofqual.
Steve Chalke, boss of the academy school chain Oasis, told The Sun that Ms Collier in in the last chance saloon.
He said: “She should own up and apologise to every child for the emotional trauma and apologise to students and teachers.
“This mess is an insult to teachers and pupils.
“They had six months to get ready for this.”
Asked if she should quit over the fiasco, he said: “I believe in forgiveness, but she needs to step up and explain herself. This should be her last chance.”
The PM’s official spokesman insisted Boris Johnson still has full confidence in Ms Collier and Ofqual.
Last night Ofqual board members were reported to want controversial algorithm results overturned and replaced with predicted grades, the Telegraph said.
The board members reportedly wanted to U-turn but the Department had tried to hold firm.
“We are in a position where it is politically unacceptable to continue with the algorithm – this is the view of some people on the Ofqual board,” a source told the paper.
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Former Ofsted boss Sir Micheal Wilshaw says the shambles is a “terrible situation” and a “farce”.
He told the BBC Radio 4 programme: “Ofqual have got to work much more closely with Government. It’s completely wrong that the Gov, DFE and Ofqual are not singing from the same hymn sheet, especially on appeals.
“Ofqual have got to get their act together and be much more visible.”