Exam grades U-turn: Ofqual has DfE's 'full confidence'

Department for Education gives exams regulator its backing after education secretary appeared to blame Ofqual yesterday

John Roberts

Exams U-turn: Ofqual has DfE's 'full confidence'

The Department for Education has given its backing to exams regulator Ofqual following this year's A-level and GCSE grading controversy.

A statement from the department today said: “As the government has made clear, we have full confidence in Ofqual and its leadership in their role as independent regulator and we continue to work closely with Ofqual to deliver fair results for our young people at this unprecedented time.”

It marks a change in tone from comments made by education secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday when he claimed that Ofqual “didn’t deliver” the system that the Department for Education had been assured would be in place for this year’s results. The DfE also makes clear that the U-turn was Ofqual's decision.

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The DfE statement continues: “The decision they [Ofqual] took to move from moderated grades to centre-assessed grades was one that we agreed with.

“Our focus remains on working with Ofqual to ensure students receive their final GCSE, AS-level and A-level results this week so that they can move on to the next stage of their lives."

A question mark has been hanging over the future of Ofqual and its leaders ever since the regulator announced the dramatic grading U-turn on Monday. At the briefing that followed, Mr Williamson would not say whether he retained confidence in the exams watchdog.

Yesterday former Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws felt moved to warn that abolishing Ofqual would be “exactly the wrong step to take” in the “aftermath of the exams grading chaos”. 

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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