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Wed, 30 September 2020

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Gavin Williamson apologises for ‘disruption’ to summer exams as he defends ‘credible’ grade estimate system

Gavin Williamson apologises for ‘disruption’ to summer exams as he defends ‘credible’ grade estimate system

Gavin Williamson said he wanted to ensure the system was "as fair as possible for every single child" (BBC)

2 min read

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has apologised to children “for the disruption that they've had to suffer” due to cancelled exams.

And he has insisted that the new “triple lock” grading system announced on Tuesday—which guarantees students either their calculated grade, an appeal, or a chance to sit the exam in the autumn— will deliver “credible, strong results”.

It comes as education unions accused the Government of a "panicked and chaotic" last-minute change to the grading system ahead of students receiving their A-Level results on Thursday.

Mr Williamson told the BBC: "I apologise to every single child right across the country for the disruption that they've had to suffer."

He also defended the introduction of the triple lock system, saying ensuring children had an opportunity to take their exams later in the year was “the right thing to do”.

“The system, for the overwhelming majority of young people, is going to deliver, you know, credible, strong results for every single one of them,” he said. 

“It's a robust system, it's a fair system, it's making sure that young people get the grades that they've worked so hard towards."

And he added that the ability for pupils to appeal their grades would ensure young people were “able to have their concerns properly addressed”.

“What is key is giving young people the opportunity to move on to the next stage of their lives, making sure that they have the opportunity to go on to college, go to university, take an apprenticeship, go into the world of work.”

He continued: “I want to give people as much reassurance that the appeals process, the ability to have the opportunity to take the exams again, if that's the route that they want to do, is open to all. And that's what we're doing. 

“And I'm not going to hesitate in terms of actually making changes if I can get to a system that’s as fair as possible for every single child.”

It comes after exam regulation Ofqual said it was "working urgently" to set out how to appeal A-Level results following the Government’s last-minute introduction of the triple lock on Tuesday. 

Schools minister Nick Gibb said on Wednesday morning details of the appeals process would be published “later”.

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

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