GCSEs 2020: Call to delay results over flawed algorithm

Tory peer and former education secretary Lord Baker calls on Williamson to act after ‘hundreds of thousands of unfair' A-level grades

William Stewart

GCSE results 2020 Lord Baker

A former Conservative education secretary is calling on his current counterpart to delay the publication of GCSE results next week because Ofqual's model has produced "barely explicable" A-level downgrades.

Lord Baker's call to Gavin Williamson comes as confusion over this year's controversial A-level results deepens following Ofqual's abrupt withdrawal of its appeal process last night.

The Department for Education is reported to have been left "blindsided" by Ofqual's change of heart on the process which ministers had already endorsed.

Confusion: A-level 'chaos' deepens as Ofqual suspends appeal rules

A levels: ‘Farcical’ Ofqual has ‘sown confusion’

Trouble ahead: Ofqual’s algorithm issues ‘more severe’ at GCSE level

Lord Baker, who was education secretary between 1986-89 and oversaw the introduction of GCSEs said: "I urge the education secretary to instruct Ofqual not to release the GCSEs results this Thursday as their algorithm is flawed.

"The A-level results have produced hundreds of thousands of unfair and barely explicable downgrades.

"They have helped smaller private schools but hit the brighter students in a poorly performing state school. It is not surprising that various parties are considering legal actions.

"The Royal Statistical Society has claimed that Ofqual has breached its 'obligation to serve the public good' and its model failed to 'achieve Quality and Trustworthiness'.

"Last week A-levels were allowed to increase by 2 per cent, but for GCSEs this week schools have only been allowed a 1 per cent increase. This will result in millions of aggrieved students and many more millions of aggrieved parents and grandparents. If you are in a hole stop digging.

"The GCSE results should be postponed for two weeks. The government can then decide either to accept the predicted grades or invite heads to resubmit new predictions which should not exceed 3 per cent of their performance in 2019."

Labour's shadow education secretary Kate Green said: "The Tories' results fiasco is turning from tragedy to farce, and the chaos and incompetence is completely unacceptable when so many students and families have been devastated by it.

"A credible appeals system should have been the government's first priority but three days later there is absolutely no clarity on how young people can challenge their unfair grades.

"Parents and young people needed action in a matter of days but the government are now rapidly running out of time. The prime minister must get a grip and sort this out."

More than 250 A-level students gathered in Westminster today for a protest against the recent downgrading of thousands of results.

Many held signs reading "trust our teachers" as the students gathered in Parliament Square, chanting "fuck Gavin Williamson" and "fuck Eton".

Ted Mellow, 18, from Wood Green, north London, one of the organisers of today's demonstration, said: "Everywhere you look, people are either angry or confused and, quite frankly, that's the government’s fault.

"We're not fighting so that everyone gets A*s and As because we know that's unrealistic, we're fighting so that people get the grades they deserve."

Dozens of students sat down on the floor at the front door of the Department of Education as hundreds filled the street.

The protesters were chanting "vote them out", with many demonstrators holding signs referencing the next election.




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William Stewart

William Stewart

William Stewart is News editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @wstewarttes

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