Schools reopening: Boris Johnson promises parents teacher grading system for A Levels and GCSEs will be ‘fair’


BORIS Johnson today promised parents the new teacher grading system for A Levels and GCSEs this summer will be “fair” and “durable”.

The PM admitted it would have been better if students were able to take exams but that wasn’t possible because the to pandemic forced school closures.

Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Boris Johnson has vowed schools are safe to reopen

He made the remarks after meeting year 7 students during a visit to the Accrington Academy, in Lancashire, this morning.

He said: “In an ideal world you would not have taken kids out of school because of the pandemic, we wouldn’t have been forced to do this.

“And in an ideal world we’d be continuing with exams as you normally have them.

“The best place for kids is in the classroom, the best way to check on kids’ progress is with normal exams.

“But this is as good a compromise as we can come to. It will be fair, it will be durable and it’s the right way forward.”

The PM visited a school in Lancashire today

Schools are set to reopen on March 8

It comes with teens look set for a record haul of GCSEs and A levels this year with officials abandoning trying to control soaring grades.

Normal summer exams have been ditched and teachers will instead decide what results students get, with the help of voluntary “mini” subject tests.

Marks will not be pegged to previous years, meaning grade inflation could run wild if teachers are generous with their assessed grades.

But it comes as a government report reveals kids in every year have fallen hugely behind in maths and English during lockdown.

Schools minister Nick Gibb insisted this morning that the teacher assessment system was the only “fair” way to judge students this year.

He vowed there will be a “quality assurance process” with grades signed off by head teachers and “risk based” sampling by exam boards.

And he confirmed pupils will receive their A-level results on August 10, with GCSE grades coming out two days later on August 12.

There will be a “very robust” appeal process, with students who are unhappy also having the option to sit exams in the Autumn.

Mr Gibb said: “We do think exams are the fairest system and we were determined to keep exams.

“But when it became very clear in January we were restricting access to schools, given the disruption students had faced over the year, the only fair system was to move away from exams this year to a teacher assessed system.

“Of course exams are the fairest and best system of judging attainment but we can’t have exams this year because of the pandemic.

“Teachers are the people who know their teachers best and we do trust their professionalism.

“This is not the ideal situation to be in but it is the fairest system given the different levels of disruption students have faced.”



Ministers are desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s botched computer algorithm disaster, which saw a massive public outcry over some unfairly low marks.

All results had to be scrapped and higher teacher grades were awarded instead.

Now teachers can decide to set their pupils “mini exams” in the classroom to help them decide their marks, alongside coursework and ongoing assessments.

These mini tests can only cover topics pupils have studied, in recognition of the fact many will have massive holes in their learning.

They will not be checked by outside moderators.

Schools must submit their grades by June 18.

Results day is being brought forward to the week of August 9, so kids have longer to appeal grades before university begins.

Schools, college bosses and exam boards will carry out checks in a bid to make sure results are fair.

But they will not be cracking down on grade inflation.

Did you miss our previous article…