Sheffield headteacher welcomes government’s exam grades U-turn but says it is not without ‘complications’

A Sheffield headteacher has welcomed the government’s U-turn on this year’s exam results - but says it is not without ‘complications’.

By Alana Roberts
Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 1:50 pm

Claire Tasker, headteacher of High Storrs School, said she is ‘delighted’ with the move to award GCSE and A-Level pupils their predicted grades based on the recommendations of their teachers.

The U-turn, which was announced yesterday, followed mounting criticism over the controversial Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation’s (Ofqual) algorithm which downgraded almost 40 per cent of A-Level results in England.

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GCSE and A-Level pupils will now receive grades based on their teachers' predictions following this year's results fiasco. Photo by PA Wire

It means that GCSE students will automatically get their teacher-assessed grades this Thursday - but may cause turmoil for sixth-formers who received their results last week, Ms Tasker says.

She said: “At High Storrs we are delighted that our students will now receive their Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs). Those grades were calculated by experts who know the students and know the examination courses.

"The process of deciding the CAGs took weeks; it started with the teacher and then was discussed, checked and challenged by middle and senior leaders. We were at pains to honour each students’ knowledge and understanding demonstrated over the course of nearly five terms.

"When we received the final grades, 58 per cent of our CAGs had been downgraded and there were some absolute travesties, for example, where talented and hard-working students had been awarded a U instead of a C, a C instead of an A* and more.”

Claire Tasker, Head of High Storrs School, welcomed the government U-turn on this year's exam grades but said it is not without complications for A-Level students who received their results last week

Ms Tasker said the U-turn is “not without complications” as many students have already accepted second choice university places and it is unclear whether this can now be amended.

She added: "Plus we learned that there would be no grades shared by exam boards for our GCSE students; we have simply been instructed to share CAGs.

"This generation of students have been failed by the government. They have now made the decent and right choice but not before causing deep pain to a group of young people who have already suffered the loss of key education milestones as a result of the pandemic.

"I do thank Ofqual and the government for making this change though. It is hard to acknowledge and rectify a mistake and we must be grateful that they have done so.”

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