HUNDREDS of thousands of A-levels and GCSE grades generated by computers will be ditched and replaced with teachers’ predicted marks after a huge uproar over the exams shambles, it was confirmed today.
After days of pressure, Boris Johnson is this afternoon expected to bow to overwhelming pressure from his own ministers and Tory backbenchers this afternoon and rip up the whole system days after it was put in place.
This afternoon Wales confirmed the change ahead of an expected announcement in England.
It joins Scotland and Northern Ireland who have already torn up their systems following an outcry.
The minister for education in Wales, Kirsty Williams, said: “For grades issued last week, I have decided that all awards in Wales, will also be made on the basis of teacher assessment.
“For those young people, for whom our system produced higher grades than those predicted by teachers, the higher grades will stand.
“It is clear that maintaining confidence in our qualifications whilst being fair to students requires this difficult decision.”
These have been exceptional circumstances, and in due course I will be making a further statement on an independent review of events following the cancellation of this year’s exams.
England is set to follow shortly in an announcement at around 4pm.
Tory MPs are set to have meetings with ministers to explain the changes, too.
Scores of Tories from across the spectrum came out today to lash out at the Government’s handling of the crisis, and urged the Education Secretary to fix it before it was too late.
Students have been left furious and devastated after algorithms marked their grades down – as they were unable to take exams due to the coronavirus crisis.
A staggering 39 per cent of A levels were downgraded by a computer algorithm last week – but Boris himself said the system was “robust”.
Thousands – especially those at worse performing schools – had their marks changed even if they were predicted to get sets of straight A*s.
It came after:
- Hundreds of kids marched outside Gavin Williamson’s office after the shambles
- The Ofqual boss was blasted for being ‘invisible’ & ‘more secretive than the KGB’ over algorithm
- No10 denied that GCSE grades would be delayed later this week after the shambles last week
- Heads warned that the system was “completely unfit for purpose” and that A-level grades were now lower than the three year average
- Teachers said the reopening of schools in September could be delayed over the huge task of appealing for thousands of kids
- Several universities and colleges said they would honour predicted grades instead of the computer-generated marks
- Andy Burnham and student Curtis Parfitt-Ford vowed to launch legal action against the Government unless they changed tack
- It was reported that Ofqual insiders wanted the Government to make a drastic change to avoid a backlash
Exams boss Ofqual has said that the teachers’ grades are inflated and therefore will be out of step with other years.
The PM has confidence in the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, and the head of exams regulator Ofqual despite the chaos.
Boris Johnson held a call with the Education Secretary and other senior officials this morning to discuss the huge change in policy.
The move came just 48 hours after Mr Williamson told The Times in an interview: “This is it. No U-turn, no change.”
Tory MPs – including current serving ministers – rounded on the Government for the shambles.
Yesterday Ofqual published its guidelines for how to appeal – but swiftly took them down after it emerged they contradicted the Government’s own policy on which grade could be used.
GAV UNDER PRESSURE
Labour big beast and ex Education Secretary Alan Johnson told HOAR that Mr Williamson should be sacked.
He said: “This job was totally beyond his capabilities. He should go. “They may try to blame it all on Ofqual, but this was Gavin Williamson’s mess and he has to take the bullet.”
Several Tories were rounding on him last week – amid speculation he could lose his job over the fiasco.
Last night Ofqual board members were reported to want controversial algorithm results overturned and replaced with predicted grades, the Telegraph said.
The board members reportedly wanted to U-turn but the Department had tried to hold firm.
“We are in a position where it is politically unacceptable to continue with the algorithm – this is the view of some people on the Ofqual board,” a source told the paper.