Over-promoted Gavin Williamson and exam curse of algorithm – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Keith Jowett, Silkstone Common, Barnsley.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson after announcing an U-turn on A-Levels.

I ALWAYS look forward to Jayne Dowle’s regular column in your newspaper, though not always agreeing with her comments.

However, her contribution (The Yorkshire Post, August 17) was, I thought, brilliant in describing Gavin Williamson as a man ‘promoted into a job that is way beyond his competence’.

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For 16 years I had the privilege to be employed as head of sixth form in a state comprehensive. As well as teaching my specialist subject, I was able to advise students in their applications for higher education and to assist in their academic progress.

A-Level students celebrate outside the Department for Education after an U-turn was announced on A-level grades.

Mid-August, when examination results were published, was always a busy time. Usually the bulk of my students received results which enabled them to move to their first or second choice higher education institution.

Very rarely did more than a very few fail to reach their teacher-estimated levels, as has apparently happened with this year’s unfortunate cohort.

Thankfully the Government seem to have shown some sense in giving priority to teacher assessments. Hopefully the curse of the algorithm has been avoided.

I look forward with interest to see if Mr Williamson will, as Jayne suggests, ‘be put in detention’.

From: Mike Pawson, Plantation Avenue, Leeds.

AFTER seeing the chaos the Government has created for the A-level pupils, I dread to think where Leeds United would have ended up if the Government had taken charge when Covid-19 struck in March. After the last 16 or 17 seasons, they may have been lucky not to be relegated.

From: Eileen Botting, Bulmer, York.

COULD it be the same “bright spark” who decided to penalise pupils living in poorer areas by downgrading their exam results also thought it a good idea to discharge patients from hospitals into care homes without knowing whether they were infected with Covid-19 or not?

From: Hilary Andrews, Leeds.

CHANGING to giving teacher-predicted grades this year means that all those disappointed last year will feel aggrieved, and those next year will expect their teachers to decide their grades next year.

From: Andrew Mercer, Guiseley.

COULD Boris Johnson explain the criteria for awarding Cabinet jobs and how Gavin Williamson came to be appointed Education Secretary? Is the PM’s algorithm formula flawed?

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James Mitchinson

Editor