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Pressure mounts on Welsh Government as exam row rumbles on

17 Aug 2020 3 minute read
Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash.

The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has called on the government to award this summer’s exam results based on teacher assessments and has asked them to consider delaying GCSE results until ‘they can achieve pupil confidence’.

GCSE results are due to be published on Thursday with the government still struggling to deal with the fallout from last Thursday’s A-level results, as over 40% of students had their marks down-graded by a standardisation algorithm.

Children’s Commissioner Sally Holland said: “It’s clear that the system put in place to grade students has failed to give all pupils the results they deserve. I now see no alternative but to switch to teacher assessments to give individual justice to those young people who rightfully feel so aggrieved.

“These young people have had no opportunity to prove themselves. They’ve been on a roller coaster since March and many feel that their life chances have been severely altered by a system over which they had no control. Those young people are speaking up strongly now and I am listening. Government and universities must too.

“I’m also calling on the government to consider a short delay to the publication of GCSE results this Thursday unless they can be absolutely certain they can achieve public confidence.

“To admit when you got something wrong and to learn from it is something, we tell young people they must do. It’s a growth mindset. In government, it is a sign of leadership.”

Earlier on Monday both Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives pressed for teachers’ grades to be used.

Siân Gwenllian MS, Plaid Cymru’s shadow education minister, said: “I’m calling on the Education Minister and this Welsh Government to learn from the chaos caused over A-level results when it comes to this week’s GCSEs. That needs to be done sooner rather than later – waiting until Thursday is unacceptable and will cause more anxiety and uncertainty.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, Suzy Davies MS, said: “Although no-one set out to create an unfair system that’s what we have ended up with. While I welcomed the Welsh Labour-led Government’s decision to allow appeals on the basis of actual achievement, the number of individual cases and the effect of uncertainty on our young people is just too great to risk that appeals system failing.

 “We have listened to what our young people have told us about the real-life experience of being a statistic and what it means for their futures.

“The time has come for certainty and teachers’ grades give us that. We also need to rectify the injustice of too many students losing too many of their grades.”

The Northern Ireland Government announced earlier today that they were reverting to awarding teachers grades after Scotland did the same last week.

The UK Government has been meeting today to discuss the situation in England with reports suggesting they will do the same.

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