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North London A Level students to hold Parliament Square demo over ‘unjust’ results

PUBLISHED: 18:53 15 August 2020 | UPDATED: 19:00 15 August 2020

People take part in a protest outside the Department of Education in Westminster, London, over the government's handling of A-level results. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

People take part in a protest outside the Department of Education in Westminster, London, over the government's handling of A-level results. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

A Level students from a raft of north London schools are planning to descend on Parliament Square tomorrow for a peaceful “sit-in” protest against the downgrading of exam results this year.

People take part in a protest outside Downing Street. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA WirePeople take part in a protest outside Downing Street. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Organised on a whim by two pupils at Woodhouse College – whose principal called the situation “savage” on results’ day this week – it is understood that students from Highgate Wood School and Fortismere are also set to join the demo.

And the pupils have been backed by their MP, Catherine West (Lab, Hornsey and Wood Green). Catherine told this newspaper: “It’s just so sad. So many young people are so upset and angry – their lives have been disrupted.

“I just can’t imagine that, next week after every single GCSE student in the country has been shafted too, the government will be able to avoid a u-turn.”

READ MORE: Impact of downgraded A Levels varies in north London: Some headteachers slam Ofqual, others hopeful for appeals

Organiser Ted Mellow told the Ham&High: “It started off pretty simply, me and a mate said ‘we’re not happy about this, can we try get a few people sitting outside parliament?’

Education secretary Gavin Williamson outside Downing Street. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.Education secretary Gavin Williamson outside Downing Street. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

“It’s kind of getting bigger and bigger.”

The sit-in is due to start at 1pm, and organisers have called for people to respect social distancing and wear masks.

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Ted said his own grades had been downgraded, and while he had still done alright, he and his friends didn’t want their downgraded results to “represent us in the future”.

Catherine West MP says the government should give worried tenants Catherine West MP says the government should give worried tenants "peace of mind". Picture: Polly Hancock

He said: “We want to show the government that we are not just going to take it, we want and deserve what we could have achieved.”

The system of “moderated” results based on teacher assessment was introduced after actual exams were abandoned due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision by Mr Williamson to allow students to use their mock results in making an appeal was announced less than 48 hours before the A-level results were published on Thursday.

It came after the Scottish government was forced to abandon its system of moderated results in the face of an outcry from students who had seen their grades downgraded, dashing their hopes of a place at the university of their choice.

Mr Williamson has insisted that he will not go down the same road in England, saying that it would lead to “grade inflation” which would render the results worthless.

Ofqual’s criteria for mock results to be considered as part of an appeal include a requirement that the exam was “supervised, unseen and undertaken in conditions that were intended to secure that work was the student’s own”.

It should include “substantial coverage” of the course content, be taken under timed conditions and scored using a marking scheme provided by the relevant exam board.

Do you live or go to school in the Ham&High’s areas of north London and are you attending tomorrow’s protest? Contact Sam Volpe on 07785616237 or Sam.Volpe@Archant.co.uk


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