Government issues statement after calls to delay GCSE results day due to A Level chaos

The Government has ruled out postponing GCSE results day despite calls to delay amid exam chaos.

Monday, 17th August 2020, 1:37 pm
Updated Monday, 17th August 2020, 1:40 pm
The government has ruled out delaying GCSE results day

Thousands of students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to receive their GCSE results on Thursday after this summer's exams were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ministers have been told to delay publishing the results after Ofqual's grading algorithm led to nearly two in five of teachers' estimates for A-level pupils in England being adjusted down last week.

But Downing Street has insisted there would be no delay to the announcement of GCSE results despite the confusion over A-levels. A Number 10 spokesman said. "We will not be delaying GCSE results."

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The Government has not ruled out the prospect of a Scottish-style U-turn - which would see grades based on teacher assessments rather than an algorithm.

It comes after Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis Academy Trust, called for this week's GCSE results day to be postponed to ensure the Government and the exams regulator did not make the same mistakes as they did with A-levels.

Mr Chalke told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The pastoral disaster for young people, that is the biggest thing. So now is the time to stop, to pause, to reflect."

"I think there should be an apology for the A-levels, a humble apology, and I think that there should be a delay around the GCSEs because it is better to reflect on what has happened."

David Laws, executive chairman of the Education Policy Institute (EPI) think tank, is calling for a delay to the publication of GCSE results until Ofqual is confident that grades are "fair and robust".

The former Liberal Democrat minister added: "It's clear this week that England faces a crisis of confidence in its exam grading, which is causing distress to students and uncertainty for schools, colleges and universities.

"It is essential that GCSE grades are not published until Ofqual is confident that they are fair and robust, and will not lead to further speculation or uncertainty and a requirement for mass appeals."

The calls come after Conservative former education secretary Lord Baker of Dorking, the architect of GCSEs, urged ministers to delay GCSE results day until the problems with A-levels have been resolved.

Speaking on Monday, Conservative MP Stephen Hammond suggested that delaying GCSE results day "probably is the right thing to do".

"I am increasingly thinking that Lord Baker is probably correct," he told Sky News.

Mr Hammond said: "I think one would have expected them (Ofqual) to have had that sorted out by now, but if it's not, taking another two weeks or another week to get that right rather than causing stress - that so much has been caused to young people who have taken A-levels this year - would be something that we should certainly consider, and probably is the right thing to do."

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