During the Covid-19 Pandemic, it was obvious students could not and would not be able to sit their exams. Due to that, you would expect the Government to have a good system in place to reflect student grades fairly. But, they haven’t…

The Government has let down the most disadvantaged people in our society. As someone who lives in a working-class town, I have seen first hand how these A-Level results have impacted the less affluent students in our country. Rather than students who study in private schools or schools historically achieving exceptional grades.

This is what happened if you went to a school that historically had poor results you were more likely to get your grades lowered. Yet, if you went to a school that had historically good results your grades would either stay the same or go up.  

Late Wednesday night, The UK Government quickly changed the way grades were graded in England after the criticism that the Scottish Government faced by students in Scotland over the way they graded pupils.  The UK Government hoped that they would not face the same criticism but was very wrong.  

This grading system directly affected the poorest parts of our country. According to OFQUAL; 280,000 grades were downgraded. 24,000 of those were downgraded by more than one grade. Nearly 40% of A-Level students were given a grade lower than what they were estimated by their teachers. The students who had their grades lowered were often from state schools, schools in Towns and Cities on the “Red Wall” which turned Conservative for the first time in 2019 - the towns in which Boris said he would not let down as he acknowledged they had lent him their vote.

The mess with the A-Level grading system has already seen rumbling from backbench Conservative MPs who are representing those former Labour seats that turned blue for the first time.  

In fairness to the Government, these are unprecedented circumstances (cliché I know) and Governments will not get it right the first time. But now the blame game has shifted to the Teachers who put their students predicted grades too high. As we have seen in Scotland, apologising, admitting your mistakes, and making them right will go a lot further than shifting the blame onto the teachers who know the pupils and know their abilities and what they are capable of achieving. Rather than an algorithm on a computer system, which we know favours the more affluent pupils in our country.

Now the Government has pulled a U-turn on exam results for both A-Level and GCSE’s. Students across the UK will now receive their teacher assessment grades. But, this whole results mess will still have an impact on students. University places have now been allocated and many students still will not be able to get into their top University choice. The Government might think they have fixed this and it is all over. Unfortunately, there is still a long road ahead for the students who have missed out.

Now people are looking to the GCSE results, which are being released on Thursday, wondering if the Government had learned their mistakes and will be able to achieve a higher grade.

Ben Barry