A Level results fiasco: Gavin Williamson fails to make the grade - The Yorkshire Post says

As teenagers across England open their A-level results tomorrow morning, the damning reality is that many thousands will not know their true final grades – so important to their future work and education prospects – for weeks or months to come.

Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The growing fiasco around how A-level results are to be awarded following the cancellation of summer exams took a major twist on Tuesday night when Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced students would be able to use their results in mock tests if they are higher than the calculated grade, which is based on teacher assessments and an exam board moderation.

Those still dissatisfied will be able to sit exams in the autumn.

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Mr Williamson described his plan as a “triple lock process” but the timing of the announcement – just hours after a dramatic U-turn by the Scottish Government scrapping its moderated grades following an outcry after 124,000 results were downgraded – points clearly to this being ill-thought out policy on the hoof.

The Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Geoff Barton accused the Government of a “panicked and chaotic response” as he pointed out that schools’ mock exams don’t conform to the same standards as the official ones and that some schools wouldn’t have even taken them.

Perhaps most pertinently, Mr Barton added schools and colleges have spent months diligently following guidance to produce grades – only now to be told that was effectively a complete waste of time.

Regulator Ofqual says that it will not be able to confirm until next week what counts as a valid mock exam for use in an appeal as it tries to make the Government’s last-minute policy a reality.

No one would envy those charged with coming up with a fair marking system with exams cancelled but this fiasco shows Mr Williamson and his colleagues failed to do their homework properly when coming up with a plan.

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