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Full public inquiry call into A-Level and GCSE ‘grading fiasco’ in letter to Wales’ Education Minister

24 Aug 2020 3 minute read
Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash.

Plaid Cymru have called for an urgent public inquiry into the events leading up to the awarding of exam results this month, in a letter to Welsh Government Education Minister Kirsty Williams.

The party said that a public inquiry would give a voice to students and teachers and would indicate that the Welsh Government wishes to learn lessons from this summer’s fiasco.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister Sian Gwenllian MS said that the review the Minister is currently instigating would not achieve the “necessary level of scrutiny” needed to address the “systematic failures” that occurred.

“In light of the events surrounding A-Level, AS Level, GCSE and BTec grades over the past fortnight, I urge you to carry out a full public inquiry into events leading up to the awarding of exam results this month.

Last week’s A-level results, decided by an algorithm, were criticised after 42% of grades were lower than teacher assessments.

The Welsh Government eventually announced that A-level and GCSE students would be awarded the grades estimated for them by their teachers.

The U-turn came after it was announced on Monday of last week that students in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland would also have their results based on teacher estimates.


‘Change course’

“The review which you are instigating will not achieve the necessary level of scrutiny following the systematic failures which led to the injustice experienced by many students,” Sian Gwenllian MS said.

“Neither will it adequately address how we build a robust and fair system in future. Both elements are of paramount importance in building back public confidence.

“It is not too late to change course and announcing a public inquiry, giving a voice to students, teachers and education bodies would be a clear sign that the Welsh Government is taking the matter with the seriousness it deserves.

“A full public inquiry will give added reassurance to all stakeholders in what is an extremely anxious time.”

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said on Friday that she was working to rebuild the trust of the public after this summer’s exam results fiasco.

She said that Wales needed to come up with a solution for exams next year that the public and profession would have faith in.

“We absolutely intend to run exams next year but need a consensus across the profession and public that the system we have works,” she said.

She said that there were “lessons to be learned” after the flawed standardisation process, which downgraded thousands of results in Wales, was ditched.

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