Yesterday almost 39% of A Level students woke up to discover that, despite Covid-19 robbing their chance to sit their exams, their predicted grades had been downgraded. For some this means missing out on their choice of university, through no fault of their own. Moreover, it looks like students from private schools have been disproportionately advantaged, and students from state schools and, particularly relevant to our constituency, colleges, were much more likely to have been marked down. We have excellent sixth form provision locally, but this country’s A-level education system has always been skewed by the dominance of the private schools over university places. That this has been compounded by the Government is unconscionable.
Determining A-Level results fairly was always going to be a challenge -universities and employers need an accurate picture consistent with other years- but the idea that bright, diligent working class kids have lost out because of the past challenges of the school or college attend, not because of their own aptitude or work ethic, is a serious injustice. I’m one of those kids, and I would not be in Parliament or the Shadow Cabinet today if it had been my college’s history rather than my own hard work that determined my A Level results.
The Government have known this would be problematic since the decision to cancel exams in March, but they’ve sleep walked into a fiasco. Working more effectively with colleges, schools, teachers, students and parents throughout the months since March could have avoided this.
Labour is calling on the government to make A-Level appeals free, and to urgently review the standardisation model ahead of GSCE results next week. Scotland made the same mistake and u-turned- we need our Government to now do the same for A Level and GCSE students in England and Wales. We need action in days, not weeks.
Young people have had their lives blighted by coronavirus far too much already- we cannot add a Government-led injustice against promising young stars impact youth wellbeing further.
Well done to everyone whose results do their work justice, and to those whose don’t- I will fight for you. If you are a constituent and have been affected me at firstname.lastname@example.org