Labour leader criticises Government 'chaos and incompetence' ahead of A-Level results

Sir Keir Starmer has slammed the “chaos and incompetence” in Government following the second year of education disrupted by the pandemic, as students and parents anxiously await A-Level results this week.

File photo dated 8/7/2021 of Sir Keir Starmer (PA/Peter Morrison)

The Labour leader said Boris Johnson and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had failed to act to ensure that this summer’s results run smoothly.

He has demanded students are given a “next step guarantee” and called on ministers to put in place an enhanced appeals system as well as support for teachers.

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Sir Keir said: “I have a very vivid memory of the day I got my A-level results – of the pressure, nerves and worry that my entire path could be determined by what was on that sheet of paper.

“It frustrates me immensely that this week’s big moment in so many young people’s lives is being risked by the chaos and incompetence at the top of this Government.”

Teenagers across the UK will receive results this week, with A-Level results day tomorrow (Tuesday August 10) and GCSE results day following on Thursday August 12.

After exams were cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic, teachers in England have been asked to consider a range of evidence - such as mock exams, course work, and in-class assessments - to help decide this year’s teacher assessed grades.

Last summer, the fiasco around grading led to thousands of A-level students having their results downgraded from school estimates by what Mr Johnson dubbed a “mutant algorithm”, before Ofqual announced a U-turn.

Sir Keir went on:“This abject refusal of Boris Johnson to get a grip has created huge extra stress for students and baked unfairness into the assessment process.

“Young people and our dedicated education staff have worked incredibly hard, but they have been let down time and time again by Boris Johnson’s failure to stand up for their futures.

“No young person should lose out because of Conservative chaos, which is why we are calling on the Prime Minister to fix this mess his Education Secretary has created and deliver on our three tests so all young people can move on to the next stage of their lives.”

A Department for Education spokesman said they have put in place “a rigorous system” to ensure that grades are fair when they are received this week.

The spokesman went on to say:“Exams are the best form of assessment but in the absence of those this year there is no-one better placed to judge young people’s abilities than their teachers, who see them day in, day out.

“Teachers have assessed multiple pieces of work, in turn giving students multiple opportunities to show what they know and perform to their best.”