My priority and focus this past week, has been to make sure that students get the grades that accurately reflect their ability and I’ve been in discussions with most headteachers to ensure this happens. I also wrote an open letter to students across West Dorset (see below) and urged them to contact me with their individual cases, which they did, and this was very useful to me when feeding back to the Universities Minister and the Education Minister on their behalf.
The change in policy from Ofqual, which came just in time for GCSE students too, was the right thing but it came far too late.
Government’s Higher Education Taskforce has now agreed to honour all offers across university courses to students who meet their conditions this coming year wherever possible, or if maximum capacity is reached to offer an alternative course or a deferred place. To support this commitment, the Government has lifted the cap on domestic medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and undergraduate teacher training places. Additional teaching grant funding will also be provided to increase capacity in medical, nursing, STEM and other high-cost subjects which are vital to the country’s social needs and economy.
I therefore welcome Ofqual's decision to allow GCSE, AS and A-level students to be awarded the grades which were predicted by their teachers. I appreciate there may be hurdles still to overcome but if any student still has concerns I am here to help at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On 17th August, the Chair of Ofqual has issued a statement on the situation with GCSE, AS-level and A-level results. Please follow the link below to read it in full:
There has been a further update for vocational and technical qualifications:
20.08.20: Ofqual is working to ensure that BTec students can get their results as soon as possible, following a decision by the exam board Pearson to delay results to revise its arrangements to ensure that students’ results are in line with those studying GCSEs and A Levels. Exam boards are working to confirm these results as soon as possible, recognising the impact that delays are having on schools, colleges and students, and Ofqual have confirmed that no student’s result will go down as a consequence of regrading.
My open letter to students
CHRIS LODER MP
HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A 0AA
15th August 2020
Dear A-level students in West Dorset
May I first congratulate those of you who have successfully achieved your desired A-level results and are well on the way to pursuing your chosen path in the next academic or vocational year.
Over the last few days, I have been in dialogue with a good number of headteachers, parents and students regarding A-level results that were not as they had anticipated. I’m writing this open letter specifically to reach out to students across West Dorset who find themselves in this situation.
In my view, nothing can properly replace the actual sitting of exams and no algorithm will measure a student’s abilities as accurately. One of the inescapable consequences of the pandemic these past five months, while our focus has been on keeping communities safe, has been the disruption to education and exams. Despite this disruption, thanks to your hard work, we have seen 28.6% of A-levels in the South West being graded A or A*, with an overall pass rate of 98.4% - both figures representing an increase on 2019.
However, I know there are students who have been negatively impacted by this process; particularly those of you whose predicted results were downgraded and whose university offers have been rejected as a result.
Yesterday, I was on a call with the Universities Minister; the day before, with the Education Minister. I was informed that universities would hold places open for those with grades that are subject to appeal. However, I recognise that this doesn’t concur with some of the feedback I have received from you; in which you tell me that you have experienced a lack of flexibility from some universities.
The Government announced yesterday that it will cover the cost of appeals, to give every student the chance to rectify their grades where the system has not provided an accurate reflection of their ability. If you are in a position of needing help, beyond what your school or college is able to assist you with through the appeals process, please do the following:
1. Check that I am your MP by visiting https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP. If you do not live in the West Dorset constituency, you will need to get in touch with your own local MP.
2. Please email me as succinctly as you can to email@example.com with the following details:
- Your name, address, contact email and phone number, along with that of your parent or guardian where appropriate.
- If you prefer a parent or guardian to contact me on your behalf, or you are not yet 18 years old, then I must also have your written permission for them to do so, along with any correspondence they send me.
- Name of the school or sixth form college you attended.
- Your mock exam results (if taken), predicted results and actual results.
- Which subjects you are disputing and the reasons why.
- Tell me the university offers you have had, highlighting your first choice.
- Confirm whether you have been in touch with universities, whether your offers have been honoured or not and anything else that they have said to you.
- Confirm which subjects you are intending to appeal, if that is the case.
I was not fortunate enough myself to be in the position of going to university after sixth form, but I shall be very pleased to help those of you who have been disadvantaged by this grading process.
Chris Loder MP
Member of Parliament for West Dorset
cc: All secondary headteachers in West Dorset