Logo

‘Common sense has prevailed’: A Level results u-turn welcomed in north London

PUBLISHED: 18:43 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:45 18 August 2020

Lydia Sheppard (third left) and Ailsa Robb (second right) among a group of Alexandra Park School pupils protesting against A Level marks being downgraded. Picture: Sam Volpe

Lydia Sheppard (third left) and Ailsa Robb (second right) among a group of Alexandra Park School pupils protesting against A Level marks being downgraded. Picture: Sam Volpe

Archant

A day after hundreds of A Level students held a protest in Westminster, the government’s u-turn and decision to award pupils the grades teachers assessed for them has been welcomed across north London.

People take part in a protest outside the Department for Education, London, in response to the downgrading of A Levels Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA WirePeople take part in a protest outside the Department for Education, London, in response to the downgrading of A Levels Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Pupils from schools including Fortismere in Muswell Hill and Alexandra Park School were among those to take to Whitehall.

Among them, was local MP Catherine West (Lab, Hornsey and Wood Green). She said the news, announced at 4pm by Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, was “wonderful”.

READ MORE: Pupils at Fortismere, Alexandra Park and Woodhouse College among those at Parliament Square results demo

The MP said: “I didn’t think when I was at the demonstration that within 24 hours it would be sorted.

“I’m so very pleased our young people have had their voices heard. The way that they threw themselves into the campaign was so heartening and exciting.”

Education secretary Gavin Williamson in his office in Westminster. Stefan Rousseau/PA WireEducation secretary Gavin Williamson in his office in Westminster. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Patrick Cozier, headteacher at Highgate Wood, tweeted that he was “very pleased that common sense prevailed!”

However, at this stage, many pupils do not yet know their final grades.

Ted Mellow, the Woodhouse College student who helped organise the protest on Sunday, told this newspaper: “It’s the bare minimum really. But it’s good that our protest has amounted to something.

“We’re proud of making a difference.

“A lot of people are in a better situation, but people have still been screwed by the system.”

Meanwhile in Camden, in a tweet UCL Academy responded to the news saying: “This news will support our students who received grades last week that were in no way reflective of their ability or hard work.

“We are delighted for them all. Their responses and resilience have been exemplary and we so pleased for them.”

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq (Lab) said: ““The U-turn on A-Level results is good news for students and parents in Hampstead and Kilburn, many of which have contacted me over the past few days.

“This was a crisis that could have been avoided. Despite having since March when exams were postponed, the Government still created a system that was fundamentally unfair. Despite seeing the same problem affect students in Scotland earlier this month, Boris Johnson did nothing to prevent last week’s farcical results day.”

Labour leader and Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer said: “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.”

On Monday afternoon Mr Williamson accepted it had produced more “significant inconsistencies” than could be rectified through an appeals process.

Students who were awarded a higher grade by the moderation process will be allowed to keep it, but for many pupils the shift to teachers’ predictions will see their grades improve.

Mr Williamson said: “This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for young people who were unable to take their exams.

“We worked with Ofqual to construct the fairest possible model, but it is clear that the process of allocating grades has resulted in more significant inconsistencies than can be resolved through an appeals process.

“We now believe it is better to offer young people and parents certainty by moving to teacher-assessed grades for both A and AS-level and GCSE results.

“I am sorry for the distress this has caused young people and their parents but hope this announcement will now provide the certainty and reassurance they deserve.”

He claimed the scale of the problem had only become clear over the weekend.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Most Read

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Most Read

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express