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Lichfield’s MP says “no system could ever be perfect” in the wake of the coronavirus crisis after criticism of the way A-Level results were calculated for some students.

More than a third of pupils saw grades below those predicted by teachers.

But Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said students who felt their results were incorrect should follow the appeals process.

Michael Fabricant. Picture: UK Parliament

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“The vast majority of students are satisfied with the grades they have been allocated though I am very well aware of instances of unfairness due to either a school having a patchy past performance or students not working hard for their mock exams – something I used to do!

“I know of at least one ‘straight A’ student who would confidently have expected to be accepted into an Oxbridge college, but the allocated grades now prevent this.

“However, there is an appeals process in place which schools are aware of and I am giving assistance to both schools and families where they feel an injustice has occurred.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Mr Fabricant said the coronavirus crisis meant a perfect solution was always going to be difficult to find.

“Frankly, there is no simple answer to this emergency provision put in place during the COVID pandemic. No system could ever be perfect as we saw in Scotland.

“The simple and obvious ‘solution’ of having schools and teachers assess their own students with no outside influence – as suggested by some Labour and other politicians – is absolutely no solution.

“That formulation is unacceptable to most universities as the view of Ofqual and the higher education sector is that a minority of schools submit ‘implausibly high’ predicted grades. 

“Whether that is true or not, Ofqual, the body that oversees A-Level qualifications and others, had to devise a credible system that would maintain the integrity of A-Level grades and would be acceptable to our more sought after universities.

“However, I hope and expect that with the appeals process in place, every student wishing to attend the university or college of their choice will be able to do so.

“I am just sorry that, as with everything else affected by COVID-19, it is making for such a stressful time for students and their families and friends.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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16 Comments

  1. True, it was always going to be difficult, but this is clearly NOT a credible system is it? When some students have all their grades lower than both their mocks and teachers’ assessments. When an A prediction is modified to a C for no apparent reason. When students can completely fail exams they didn’t actually take. When the results applied to students from independent schools disproportionately better than those of students from state schools. Sorry Michael, but your excuses for this catastrophic failure are utterly lame, and we both know it.

  2. Agreed – but on a scale of perfect to blatantly unfair this system is inadequate. A national system will have a rationale but it will inevitably leave too many individuals adrift and penalised through no fault of their own. There were other options. Students have lost out based on results from years ago, private schools win, smaller Sixth Forms win, improved schools lose, disadvantaged areas are penalised.
    The appeal system is still not formed and university places will increasingly be lost as time drags on. Even an average sized school will have mountains of appeal forms to do – if A-Levels are bad then GCSEs next week (when students take x3 the exams) will be a lot worse.
    Not everyone should get an ‘A’ but the Scottish model would mean an individual’s potential and opportunity are not lost. Most A-Level students go on to university – the degree grades will balance it out. Likewise, the workplace. A Scottish teen has been propelled forward, English teens have a very mixed bag and too many have been shackled.
    The press is not noting that schools are currently having to fill out a mountain of risk assessments, etc, as they plan for the re-opening. Do we think a burdensome appeal system (and mock grades are nonsensical) is going to help the schools who face ever-changing government guidance and have to maximise safety for 2 weeks time for children months out of routine ?

  3. The Government had plenty of time to plan…and this was regarded as the best solution?!?

    True that there were other priorities on the Government’s to-do list: covering up for Cummings; trying but failing to manipulate the Commons intelligence committee; demonising BLM campaigners but ignoring right-wing thugs and bullies; ignoring scientific evidence and advice over Covid-19; trying to deflect attention for catastrophic failures in the health service by getting hysterical over migrants; manipulating stats on the pandemic; awarding highly lucrative contracts to friends of Cummings and Cabinet ministers without any scrutiny; ignoring serious sexual assault allegations against a former minister; continuing to fail to make any headway in Brexit negotiations; and telling everyone we are workd-leading at everything despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    Yep its been a busy few months I can see why the future prospects of the next generation comes way down that list of priorities.

  4. Unfortunately for us all this inept govt makes a dog’s dinner out of everything it touches.
    I’m not surprised they’ve messed this up, they make things up as they go along. Months to plan for this.
    Ofqual refused help with their algorithm last year when it was obvious that it was getting it wrong.
    It’s tragic for young people caught up in this. Unless you’re posh at private school, they did well.
    Tories should remember they’re only in govt because of red wall constituencies where many of the poorer students were downgraded. Their parents won’t forget.

  5. Young people at state schools have been cheated out of their university places by Tory social engineering. This algorithm was designed – it didn’t just appear by magic – and it has widened the gap between the privileged few at private schools and the rest at state schools still further. How convenient in a country run by the elite, for the elite!
    Nobody expected the system to be perfect, but this level of incompetence is totally unacceptable. There is a big difference between ‘less than perfect’ and ‘utter shambles’.
    I am just thankful that my own daughter can expect her grades to be rectified when she appeals and that her offer of a place at university has been unaffected. I can only imagine how families feel where an opportunity has been lost and a young person’s plans for the future have had to be put on hold. And in years to come, even after appeals have been upheld, state school pupils will still have to compete with private school students who were given an unfair advantage and then did not have the hike in their results moderated back down. These students will pay heavily for other people’s failings: it is vital that those responsible should be held to account.

  6. Glad to see our deplorable MP has taken time out from whipping up hatred against Dawn Butler to punch down at students who have spent years working to have their rewards stolen from them. This scandal should be a defining moment for this government, however I am sure it will be swiftly forgotten.

    Look….. an immigrant.

    I just hope all these students register to vote and remember who did this to them.

  7. MP Fabricant again defending the indefensible. Government has used an algorithm that favours the well off (especially private schools) and downgrades the less well off schools. Universities and colleges can’t use these sham results. This government is a sham. Young people deserve a better future. Worcester College Oxford has done the right thing by saying that all those students offered a conditional place, will get one. Tory government is run by the elite and funded by those who do not mean this country or citizens well. Young folk, especially first time voters, please hit Mr Fabricant at the ballot box when there is another election. In the meantime, watch as the UK becomes a hellhole and a land of lack of opportunity. Except for the rich and privileged. Lichfield voters need to wake up politically and smell the coffee. Neither Michael Fabricant or current crop of Tory MPs care about anyone’s education, jobs, health or lives.

  8. Just wait until the GCSE fiasco next week. This Government has sold these young people down the river. Fabbo and Co has no inkling or empathy for these pupils. Parliament should be recalled to discuss the mess that the Government is making on a whole host of issues.

  9. It worries me greatly that instead of giving these children the “leg up” we all expect and which they deserve, our Government is putting serious barriers in their way.

    Our generations worked hard for ourselves but also werd very well supported by our families, schools and above all by our Government. This generation has the support of families and schools but just when they needed it the most the Government has gone “awol” and abandoned our children.

    I cannot believe that the party I have loyally supported for 40 years is acting in this deplorable fashion. The attempt by Mr Fabricant to justify his Government’s failure is yet another example of how out of touch he has become.

    It pains me so much to say that the need for political change, locally and nationally, has arrived. My party and this Government are no longer fit for purpose.

  10. How many A level students of voting age has this government just crapped on, and next up, GCSE students who will be old enough to vote at the next election.
    Why are you defending a system that is going to help tear the guts out of the Conservative party?
    Keep up the great work!

  11. ““The simple and obvious ‘solution’ of having schools and teachers assess their own students with no outside influence – as suggested by some Labour and other politicians – is absolutely no solution.”

    Mr Fabricant has more of a tin ear than the Government he serves. Lichfield needs a young progressive energetic MP, somebody who’ll listen to all the electorate and lobby government for the good of all.

  12. When can we expect the statement from our MP saying he always knew the system was fundamentally flawed and he’s been lobbying hard behind the scenes to get the Government to change its mind?

  13. Levelling up ? Well that has now been shown to be electioneering bull.

    Here’s the current Conservative performance … Fail state school pupils, perform a late U turn and then blame someone else. No Mr F, no system is perfect but this one was either fundamentally flawed, or designed to benefit those attending private schools and I don’t think you’ve worked out that all these A level students will be able to vote next time.

  14. Mr F ‘runs with the hares and hunts with the hounds’. He will need to use a good ‘algorithm’ to work out his response and then do a U-turn.

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