Theft of working-class and especially ethnic minority kids’ futures is a criminal act
The scandal of the downgraded A-level awards has grown bigger with the revelation that the governnment’s algorithm used to adjust grades was designed to guarantee a huge negative impact on students from working-class and especially ethnic minority areas – and a huge boost to the children of the wealthy.
The algorithm’s adjustments were weighted to apply downgrades to more children the larger their class size – and also included postcodes in its calculations.
Bigger class? Down you go – in spite of years of Tory claims that increasing class sizes driven by cuts didn’t damage our children’s education. Poor postcode? Down you go again.
The algorithm also weighted up for small classes and wealthier areas and the effect was clear: ordinary sixth form and further education colleges lost out massively – while the private schools used by the wealthy saw their number of As and above hugely increased.
Private schools benefitted more than state schools to the tune of of almost 16 to 1:
The Sixth Form Colleges Association found that a third of their members had seen results from the process that bore “little or no” resemblance to achievements in previous years – and that poor and ethnic minority students had been hammered:
Some schools and colleges have reported fifty percent or more of their students being downgrades, with black children affected several times more often than the proportion of the population they represent. Huge numbers of students have reported withdrawn university offers based on the downgrades.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson admitted that the downgrades had been applied selectively to children from poor backgrounds in case they found themselves promoted to ‘jobs beyond their competence’. It doesn’t seem to matter if rich children go beyond their competence. Just look at this government.
Williamson’s department also boasted that “Almost 60% of grades students received are exactly the same as those submitted by schools and colleges” – in other words, 40% weren’t – and admitted that the vast majority of those were downgraded.
Meanwhile, Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green’s ‘limp dishcloth’ performance on last night’s Newsnight came nowhere near to reflecting the justified outrage of parents and teachers.
The Tories have performed a naked smash and grab on the futures of our children – and are dancing off laughing down the street with the spoils, while telling the rest of us to be happy about it and still claiming they’re ‘levelling up’. And many people are predicting the impact on GCSE grades will be even worse.
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