Thousands of GCSE kids could have dreams ruined unless huge ‘Nightingale’ drive to boost places, Gov warned
THOUSANDS of GCSE students could be left heartbroken tomorrow unless there’s a huge ‘Nightingale-style’ drive to increase places, the Government has been warned.
Former education secretary Lord Blunkett said there needed to be a massive effort to boost sixth-form and college places if they were to be able to cope with the huge hike in students that’s expected.
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Earlier this week the Government sparked a mad rush for spots at university after u-turning and allowing students to have their teacher-predicted grades rather than ones decided by an algorithm.
However, this means far more people are now scrambling to get into their chosen universities – and the same situation is feared to happen tomorrow.
Universities are already asking for extra cash to help solve some of their capacity issues.
Many are asking kids to take a gap year and defer their places until 2021.
Gavin Williamson is being urged to draw up last-minute plans to stop the sector going into meltdown when results emerge tomorrow morning.
He’s being urged to push more spaces with the same urgency that the Government pushed the rapid building of Nightingale hospitals around the country at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lord Blunkett told the Daily Telegraph: “We should put in plans for an enormous expansion, because where else are they going to go?
“They need to bring forward funding at once and have Nightingale-style further education provision.
“They could take over office space or public space. We need the kind of drive that we had initially for NHS capacity.”
As a result of huge job losses across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, even more students are expected to stay in education this year, for fear they won’t be able to find somewhere to work.
A-level grades out last week showed record numbers of A*s and As.
And days later even more were added to the mix after the Government’s uturn over grades.
Mr Williamson is under pressure to quit over the scandal, but Boris Johnson is said to have full confidence in him.
Earlier today Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, stressed that it would be a huge distraction to change the Education Secretary just two weeks before schools are supposed to reopen for all pupils across England
A Department for Education source said the introduction of “Tlevel” technical courses next month would create more places at further education colleges.
They added that Mr Williamson was aware of potential overcapacity issues and was exploring options to help head teachers.
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Last night the exam boards promised that results for GCSEs would come out as promised on Thursday – with no delays.
Schools have been required to send to exams boards their teacher-predicted assessments so moderators can work out which is the highest grade, which will then be awarded to pupils.