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Sun, 27 September 2020

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Exam regulator ‘working urgently’ on A-Level appeal rules as Government accused of ‘panicked and chaotic response’ to results row

Exam regulator ‘working urgently’ on A-Level appeal rules as Government accused of ‘panicked and chaotic response’ to results row

The UK Government is trying to prevent the exam fiasco in Scotland happening in England too (PA)

2 min read

The exams regulator in England has said it is "working urgently" to set out how to appeal A-Level results after the Government changed the rules on how students’ grades will be calculated.

But Ofqual confirmed it will not be able to publish what evidence will be needed to ensure mock exam results can be taken into account, several days after the results are revealed.

It comes after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson promised a new “triple lock” process in a bid to avoid a repeat of problems that have dogged Scottish exams this year.

For English pupils getting A-level results they will be able to accept their calculated grade, appeal to receive valid mock exam results, or sit further exams in the autumn.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said on Wednesday morning Ofqual would be publishing details on the mock appeals process “later”.

But the regulator says pupils who get their results on Thursday will have to wait several days before they find out how they can do so.

In a statement it said: "We understand why the Government has wanted to provide some additional assurance for students, by confirming that evidence from valid mock exams can be considered as part of an appeal.

"We are working urgently to operationalise this as fairly as possible and to determine what standards of evidence will be required for the appeal. We will provide more detail early next week.

"We will continue to do everything possible to ensure students achieve grades that are as fair as possible in the circumstances this summer.”

Mr Gibb said despite the last-minute change “there is no confusion” and only a "small number" of students would be affected.

But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the plan creates potential for "massive inconsistency" as mocks are not standardised.

He said: "The idea of introducing at the 11th hour a system in which mock exam results trump calculated grades beggars belief.

"Schools and colleges have spent months diligently following detailed guidance to produce centre-assessed grades, only to find they might as well not have bothered.

"If the Government wanted to change the system it should have spent at least a few days discussing the options rather than rushing out a panicked and chaotic response."

And the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called it “a complete fiasco” which “smacks of incompetence”.

He added: "It's shambolic. It's hours to go before the results.

"The problem is obvious and it's been sitting there for weeks or months.

"We now face possibly 40% of young people having their grades changed and downgraded, possibly. And this risks robbing them of their future.”

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