Breaking: Tories cave to pressure and u-turn on regrading

Apology begs question why Williamson defended it in the first place

The Tories have caved in to public pressure and outrage and have u-turned on the theft of grades from thousands of A-level students. Students will now receive the grades they were initially awarded based on teacher assessments and previous performance.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said he acknowledges the distress caused by the massive, class-based downgrading – and is ‘very sorry’ for it. So why did he defend and even praise it last week?

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  1. The next target could be to extend the protection of those tenants facing eviction? With no Parliament and a very weak timid ‘opposition’ pressure on single issues can work. There’s nothing else.

  2. Keir Starmer
    The Government has had months to sort out exams and has now been forced into a screeching U-turn after days of confusion.

    This is a victory for the thousands of young people who have powerfully made their voices heard this past week.

    However, the Tories’ handling of this situation has been a
    complete fiasco.

    Incompetence has become this Government’s watchword, whether that is on schools, testing or care homes.

    Boris Johnson’s failure to lead is holding Britain back.

    1. Oh, wow!! That was just soooo profound and articulate.

      If THAT doesn’t inspire just about everyone I dunno what will.

      *Sighs & shakes head*

      1. Toffee – Thanks for your input, it’s good to have an insight into what the ‘Tory Boy’ opposition is thinking.

      2. Remind us all, stevey boy…Just WHAT stammer did to force this u-turn?

        I did every bit as much as him, sat here on me arse.

  3. This is surely as case for the EHRC to investigate for discrimination and also there should be numerous claims in the civil courts distress and psychological harm . Who actually asked for an algorithm / equation which included profiling? How much money was spent creating the program? Which company was the beneficiary? Parliamentary scrutiny required hopefully by a forensic politician.

      1. Doug – Sound advice, I’m already breathless waiting for the publication of the EHRC report on Labour.

      2. SteveH
        That’s the report Temporary Embarrassment hope’s allows him to kick JC out of the party
        The report that has already been hamstrung by the internal Labour report and their abject refusal to investigate cheap and nasty Tory party
        Methinks your pulling my leg

  4. This was a disaster 10 years in the making. Gove and Cummings (HIS adviser at the time) were obsessed with “traditional” exams, where over a few hours your life chances were made or broken. They misused words such as “rigour” to push their Victorian attitudes on to the education system. They were obsessed by exams, and the contents of the tested syllabus.

    The world of education has known for many decades how to assess work as it is completed over time, of how to moderate those assessments, and of how to ensure each child is assessed against every other child – but Gove and Cummings hated that.

    And so we are where we are. CV comes along – but it could have been anything else that disrupts pupils in May of any year – and the entire cohort of pupils at A level and the one at GCSE are affected, and there was no plan B. Of course there was no plan B. The Tories don’t do planning.

    A Tory lash-up from start to finish. One of many, but one that affected our future generation.

    1. External examinations should be the best & only way to assess students & prevent automatic grade inflation. In my many years of teaching there were often occasions where certain teachers always awarded massively over-rated coursework marks to their own students. Look at my student’s marks; aren’t I a good teacher?

      Students from low income families or deprived areas can also suffer. Many students benefit from coursework input from their older siblings, as well as mum & dad, but the main problem with coursework is over marking to such an extent that it is the teacher who has written most of it. Superior technology & learning environment also makes a huge contribution, but if your teacher doesn’t like you…….you are doomed to fail.

  5. Conveniently for private school students who gained from the whole sorry episode, Gav Gump says they’ll get to keep their unfairly inflated grades.
    We’d never have predicted that, would we, children?

  6. How remarkable. Suddenly, after mass protest and criticism from every conceivable direction, government representatives one after the other are now telling us they CARE about young people. Absolutely remarkable. Presumably they cared about them all along but had just forgotten, and so argued the toss over and over again to do those same young people down. Good to know they care. Phew!

  7. Damage already done,
    Universities refused to wait a week, offers no longer valid, my advice in Covid19 year make them honour original offers and take a year out
    Your paying £9k for zero tuition this year
    Whose to say what can happen in next 12 months

  8. The “Peter Principle” is therefore expressed as: “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”- according to Williamsom this might well happen if the grades are marked equitably. .
    One slight caveat it looks likely that incumbent government operates on the “Peter Principle” from top to bottom and most of those are the product of an elitist private school system which has charitable status. Hmmm

  9. Algorithms measure A Level results,,,,,,,,nothing new in that, but this year the problems are manifestly more extreme. Students have never been assessed as individuals, they are part of a cohort. There cannot be differences in results for each year as there must always be the same ratio of grades so each year is the same/similar to another; no extreme differences as each year must be as intelligent & hard working as the next, or previous. The Tories have taken it at least one stage further; students are assessed not simply on teacher assessment (recipe for grade inflation) but on the overall performance of their school over the past 3 years; the recent performance of their peers @ their school & teacher tracking within each school eg if a student is graded as 10th in a class, their results for each subject will also be adjusted. A student is judged on where they are educated, not as an individual. There should have been a clue when results announced showed ‘Private Schools’ doubled their achievement grades. So much use of the word algorithms on MSM, but no explanation…….I wonder why? Perhaps the BBC really believe that the class war is over?

  10. But what’s happening with the BTEC results.
    Are those who have chosen a vocational route going to be treated unfairly compared to their academic cohorts.

    Manchester Mayor reaffirms legal threat after grading U-turn excludes BTEC results
    The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has this evening reiterated his threat of legal action against the government, on behalf of students affected by the A-level, GCSE and Vocational qualifications fiasco.
    Exams regulator Ofqual confirmed this afternoon that both A-level and GCSEs students will be given their teacher grades in what is a major U-turn for the government. However, this doesn’t include BTEC and other vocational qualifications results.
    Speaking on BBC News, Mr Burnham said: “I am not going to let go of my threat of legal action until I hear from ministers that BTEC students have also been protected by this U-turn.”
    Earlier today Mr Andy Burnham, said he would be taking legal advice today and had already spoken with lawyers, after he accused the government of “digging in” and “standing by their flawed system”.
    Jolyon Maugham, director of the Good Law Project, announced last week that his organisation was mounting a legal challenge similar to others announced. This afternoon Mr Maugham confirmed that his firm were also investigating issues with BTEC grades.
    Mr Maugham, via Twitter, said: “We believe there may be continuing issues for BTEC Students who we understand not to be covered by today’s announcement. We will be examining the situation carefully in the coming days and may well bring further litigation to ensure fairness for all students.”

  11. Williamson… You’ve got “wrong’un” written all over you.

    That is all.

  12. Foreign students, especially those from China, will be absent from universities this year. Should be a buyer’s market. Students should also demand massive discounts for lack of tuition. Zoom or distance learning is part of the ‘Open University’, so fees should be adjusted accordingly.

    1. Won’t happen. Students are ‘buying’ places at uni this year with predicted grades that no one belies in. It’s another step on the road to fully fledged private education and buying degrees.

      1. lundiel, those who can afford to pay ‘essay mill’ prices already buy their degrees – like every Tory MP – and there are enough essay mills that no toff ever needs to lift a pen or touch a keyboard.
        Does anyone seriously think the likes of Johnson and Cameron bothered to work for their degrees themselves – in between all-nighters burning banknotes in front of the homeless with the other Bullingdon Club Ruperts – when they could pay some poor underprivileged smelly oik a few hundred quid an essay to earn them a 2:1?

      2. Completely agree. I used to live in Oxford when William Hague and the “young fogies” were in residence.Tobacconists and 7/11 stores were full of adverts for everything from thesis writing through to exam taking.

  13. Keir (Hammer of the Right) Starmer:

    “The government was right to do a u-turn . . .Yet again what we’re seeing is a government that is slow and incompetent.”

    Oooooooh! Hit ’em where it hurts Keir boy!

    Takes me back many years to Dennis Healey’s comment about Geoffrey Howe’s attack on him:

    “Like being savaged by a dead sheep.”

    1. noelstevenson12 – I did go on Twitter to see what you’d had to say on to subject but unfortunately your Twitter Account appears to have been suspended. What would you have said, would you have followed JC’s example?

      Jeremy Corbyn
      This u-turn from the Government wouldn’t have happened without the #Alevelprotests from so many young people, the important work of the teaching unions and everyone who spoke out.
      My solidarity to all those who took a stand.

      1. So WHAT did stammer do to force the u-turn, stevey?

        Corbyn isn’t leader of the opposition anymore. YOU seen to that. YOU elected stammer – and what’s he done?

        Just give a straight answer to the question, rather than offer yet more obfuscation – That’s if you have the courage to reply….

  14. What’s the odds on Burger King and Imperial College being behind the algorithm

  15. madders – the bliarite MP (Ellesmere Port & Neston) on radio murkeyside just now being asked why he hasn’t been off the telly for the last few months (Oh, really?)….

    ”Well, I was a shadow health minister under, erm…..under uhhhh….longer pause….Under the previous leader”

    Not even got the courtesy or courage (seeing as stammer’s probably banned mention of Corbyn by name (I’ve noticed he’s also used ‘the previous leader’ on occasion; must be one of stammer’s decrees) to mention corbyn by name, the shitbag. Oh, and I haven’t seen madders on the ‘telly’ more than once in the last 12 months.

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