Sheffield councillor calls for more support for young people and schools after exam results U-turn

A Sheffield councillor has welcomed the government’s U-turn on this year’s GCSE and A-Level results but says that more help is needed to support students and schools in the aftermath.

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 6:00 am

Thousands of teenagers across the city were left disappointed last Thursday, with many seeing their predicted A-Level grades downgraded due to a controversial algorithm devised by the exams regulator, Ofqual.

But after major backlash from students and headteachers, the government reversed the decision and said students will now receive grades based on teachers’ assessments unless those produced by the algorithm are higher.

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Abtisam Mohammed, cabinet member for education and skills at Sheffield Council

Abtisam Mohammed, cabinet member for education and skills at Sheffield Council, welcomed the move but said it had come ‘too late’.

She said: “We welcome this government U-turn but we still need much more support for our young people and our schools. Students are still unsure if they have places at their universities and are unsure of what this U-turn means for them.

"The current change in policy only affects A-Level and GCSE results. Vocational qualifications must also be treated the same and regraded based on teacher assessments. The government should ensure that late results are processed and issued to students immediately to allow them enter clearance and secure a university place."

There also remains an air of uncertainty for students who have already accepted places at their second choice universities as to whether this can now be amended.

Coun Mohammed added: “The downgrading of A-Level results has created a great deal of distress for our students and their families at a time when they should be celebrating their hard work. The government has had since March to work out the grading system for exam results and this last minute change comes too late. It is not good enough.”

“I would like to acknowledge the huge role our secondary schools are playing to reconcile our students distress and recognise their continued support. Our primary concern since the start of lockdown has been our children’s and young people’s mental health with what has been a very difficult year for our city’s young people.

"We will continue to work with our schools, colleges and universities to monitor and support Sheffield’s next generation and in particular their wellbeing.”

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