How does a student appeal an A Level grade?

Ofqual issued guidance for appeals based on Mock exams on Saturday, only to withdraw it again late in the evening that day. It put out a terse statement saying “Earlier today we published information about mock exam results in appeals. This policy is being reviewed by the Ofqual Board and further information will be published in due course.”

The news programmes I heard on Sunday morning said no Ofqual spokes person was available to clarify. This was surprising considering the importance of their late night announcement and the great interest and concern it aroused in many students, teachers, and their families. Ofqual according to its published Organogram employs a Director of Communications supported by 10 people. It is odd that none of these were available on such an important occasion. If the Board had decided to overrule the staff after they had published some work, then it is surprising the Board itself did not appoint someone to put its case. The Chairman for example could have offered himself for interview.

Ofqual according to its website has 217 people in important posts on the Organogram to perform its role of regulating and supervising the Examining Boards with a view to maintaining the standards of qualifications. The inability on this occasion to agree a policy on appeals with the government and to implement it may have something to do with the different senior people and teams involved in policy. There is a Director of Policy and Strategic relations with six staff reporting. There is an Associate Director of Strategic Policy and Risk with seven staff, and a Director of Strategic Relations with eight staff, for example. The Board should set out the strategy on the advice of the Chief Regulator and senior management team. It is difficult to know what all these people do and how it contributes to maintaining the standards of qualifications. In the end standards come down to a mixture of judgement by the Board and Chief Regulator, and good data from the Examining Boards.

Ofqual owes it to students to move quickly to offer them a realistic appeals system to deal with injustices and mistakes thrown up by the current surrogate evaluations for the absence of exams. It is certainly not fair to keep students who feel they have been wrongly downgraded guessing about how and when they can appeal.

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243 Comments

  1. Know-Dice
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    As with most of these quangos, jobs for the boys…. Gravy train and not fit for purpose.

    What happened to David Cameron’s “bonfire of quangos”?

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      +1

      Why do they even exist

      • Hope
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        JR, you are getting very boring blaming others rather than the ministers in charge! You gave yourselves a whopping pay rise under cover of the Chinese virus, £82,000 plus expenses and add ons etc, taking you all into the top five percent of earners! A part time unqualified post filling Govt. and Westminster with utter unfit idiots incapable of running a whelk stall.

        Hancock ought to have resigned
        Patel ought to have resigned
        Williamson ought to have resigned
        Jenrick ought to have resigned
        Raab ought to have resigned bungling fatal road accident saga
        Cummings ought to have resigned
        Buckland ought to have resigned, letting out illegal immigrants waiting to be deported
        Shapps ought to have resigned
        Who do we blame for Brexit failures, it is now August and nothing to date of the oven ready deal, Johnson, Gove or Frost?

        And yes, Johnson must know he is not up to the job. What is he going to do appoint a czar, or PM lead! Perhaps now that his,brother is a Lord he could fill the Role?

        • Otto
          Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

          Hope – Excellent post!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Like offering a referendum on the European Union, as a slogan it served its purpose, as a cheap General Election gimmick, to get the niggardly and uninformed to vote for his party.

      It worked too, and the country is immeasurably the worse for it.

      • beresford
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Many years ago under the Heath government there was a notorious Foreign Office memo which said that if the British people understood the aims of Euro-federalism they would never agree to it, and they should be lied to until it was too late. Now MiC tells us that the governance of our country is far too important a matter to be decided by common folk, and people like him should be able to impose a global government on us and relieve us of the chores of democracy altogether. The UN wants to increase our population by 1 1/2 times via immigration so that the pesky British people are out-voted and the ‘right’ choices for this territory can be made.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          +1 it must be stopped and reversed.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        And there you go again, with cheap insults. Grow up.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          I would encourage Martin and his lefty colleagues to carry on insulting the voters as this will help keep the Labour Party out of government for many more years.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            You confuse being confronted by perhaps unwelcome truths – which some people try to present with levity – about the groups to which you belong with insults.

            I suppose that you feel a need to make that claim, Ed.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            No insults from me Martin.
            I just notice you abusing anyone who doesn’t vote and think the way you do.

            The effect of that is to turn voters away from voting from your preferred choice.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Know Dice. What happened to David Cameron’s “bonfire of the quangos”? Same as him, just disappeared into the ether.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Sir Jonhs classic line ”we just don’t believe you”

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Peter
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Meanwhile we are being softened up for a very bad Brexit Deal.

      ‘Sixty per cent is better than nothing’ seems to be the mantra.

      We should already have gone on WTO terms.

      This is unacceptable.

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        The government no longer runs the country or cares, being lazy about your job is the new mantra.

        • UKQanon
          Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          The government of the day has NEVER run the country. They are told/dictated to do by the Establishment.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        The thing is, it isn’t just trade that the UK needs with the European Union.

        It is access to its infrastructure, to its roads, ports, airspace, airports etc.

        It also needs a solution to the fact that part of Ireland will be in it, and part of it out, that does not violate the Good Friday Agreement. Said Agreement is underwritten by such as the US too, as I understand it.

        It’s no simple matter, but the Leave campaigns told you that it was, and you believed it along with the rest of their nonsense.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          You are twisted. The Republic of Ireland will remain in the EU for the present, That part of Ireland which is Integral to the U.K. will Remain in our market.
          I know which will be more prosperous.
          It is the EU and the Republic which trashed the Good Friday agreement.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

            That’s all a matter of opinion.

            The Irish, and as importantly, Friends Of Ireland in the US Houses appear to see it differently.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            I’m Irish Martin you fool! That is how we see it!

          • Edward2
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            But what real effectivel power do either of them have when negotiations are actually between the EU and the UK

      • Mark B
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Half in. Half out. Not what I voted for and what was offered.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      The kindling was damp.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    It is clearly not remotely fair to keep them guessing in this way. Though I doubt if the exam boards can cope with the number of appeals they will get or the huge volume of supporting material. The way out of this hole (that the education sectretary has dug for himself) is as I pointed out yesterday.

    Give the students both grades the teacher projection plus the alogithm adustments. Allow the universities to decided who to accept, who not to accept and who must do resits. Many people will benefit from working or similar for a year anyway. Indeed about 75% of degrees are clearly worth far less than the £50K, three years loss of salary and work experience + the 6% interest they cost anyway.

    In the case of medical degrees people and universities will have BMAT or UCAT results (and interviews too) which are I think are better test of ability and more comparable than often very different and subjective A level subjects.

    One girl I know has been give too low a grade (to my mind) by her own rather second rate teachers. When the parent realised how poor the teachers were they got a good tutor in and she was improving hugely until Covid. There seems to be no way of appealing any such teacher errors.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Time for Gavin Williamson to stop digging.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    You say:-

    Ofqual according to its website has 217 people in important posts on the Organogram to perform its role of regulating and supervising the Examining Boards with a view to maintaining the standards of qualifications.

    Doubtless many of them were more concerned with doing this organogram, deciding on their diversity policy, attending woke conferences on indirect or inadvertent discriminaiton or similar, inventing their job titles, arguing with each other, “working” from home or selecting and arranging their offices or thinking of new names, mission statements and logos for their organisations. This seems to be how most of the state sector “works”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      Plus of course the vital task of arguing for (and trying to justify) an even bigger budget to waste for next year.

      • Nigl
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        +1 and complaining that their failure is due to not having enough money. Irony re waste is beyond them.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        L/L along with nice fat salaries and gold plated pensions to boot.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      I think there was some deliberate scheming to make the government look bad.
      All these Quangos are stuffed with leftards and deliberately try to undermine Parliament.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Nothing needed to be done to achieve that! The Govt is bad!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 2:38 am | Permalink

          But not nearly as bad as a Corbyn/SNP one and a trip to Venezuela.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Doubtless many of them were more concerned with doing this organogram, deciding on their diversity policy, attending woke conferences on indirect or inadvertent discrimination or similar, inventing their job titles, arguing with each other, “working” from home or selecting and arranging their offices or thinking of new names, mission statements and logos for their organisations.

      Nail, head, hit, on.

    • BOF
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      What an excellent summary LL. Sadly, all too true.

  4. agricola
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    If Ofqual fail to perfom or answer for their decisions while creating a total shambles in the process, why do we have to suffer their no doubt expensive existence. Are they yet another body created to shield politicians. Can I suggest a cull of all these Of Quangos that serve the electorate no useful purpose and politicians much the same.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      “Are they yet another body created to shield politicians. ” – -like Border Farce?

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • forthurst
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Ofqual exists for the two-fold purpose of providing employment for useless people with Arts degrees and to provide opportunities for wimin in leadership roles.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      About time some of these heads of Quango’s were put in front of the media by a Minister and asked to explain themselves in a question and answer session.

      Aware the Government generally appoints these people, but surely they must accept some responsibility for the money they take from the taxpayer for providing whatever service they are in supposedly in charge of.

      A Government Minister cannot oversee every single detail of every Department.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        We should demand that the BBC interview Prof Tina Isaacs who sits on the advisory group at the same time as Williamson split screen allowing him time to rebut her accusations as she has been in the news specifically blaming government policy changes for the A level exam chaos saying they change their policy every 12 to 24 hours!

  5. Stephen Priest
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    End the Lockdown and hold the exams in October.

    As it stands why would any employer take the results of this year’s exams seriously?

    Your fellow Conservative MPs should know this lockdown is ridiculous. Do they not know that summer flu and pneumonia are killing far more people the Covid in the UK , and even they are down on the average death rate.

    Your fellow Conservative MPs must make the government give us back our freedom immediately. Mask are very poor for your health and freedom.

    New Zealnd back in lockdown because 4 *** FOUR *** positive tests. Jacinda Ardern has postpone elections for a month. Is she a dictator?

    • Oldwulf
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      @SP. October exams would be sensible. Unfortunately, the delay might interrupt the supply of fodder to our precious universities ?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

      Holding the exams in October would/will be a big inconvenience to everybody, but if this is not done then this year’s qualifications will never be taken seriously by universities and future employers.

      It’s hard, very hard on the young people that have been let down, but better to sort it out now rather than let it carry on as a “stain” on their futures.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Masks are NOT ‘very poor for your health’. And though I’m not in any way a supporter of the socialist Ardern, if she delays the general election then that will only be to the advantage of the new Opposition leader, Judith Collins.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Well said, Stephen. Common sense.
      But the Government doesn’t do common sense – it has a different agenda. For some unknown reason, and not one for our benefit, they want to renew their emergency powers in September so as to continue to expand their police state. Inconveniently, the virus is on its way out, so their exaggerations/lies about the threat of this virus are everyday becoming more and more exposed. Is it fear of being found out that now drives their decisions – a cover up?; or is it something more sinister – a coup?

    • jerry
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      @Stephen Priest; “New Zealnd back in lockdown because 4 *** FOUR *** positive tests. Jacinda Ardern has postpone elections for a month. Is she a dictator?”

      No she is not a dictator, but funny you ponder that question, considering Trump has also suggested postponing the US elections for much the same reasons – the civid-19 epidemic…

      You still have not grasped how contagion happens, nor the importance of the reproduction rate/number. Only 4 cased today perhaps, but if each of those people infects just one other that is now 8, that doubles to 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 – so an increase 252 cases in just 7 days! The likelihood though is one person will infect more than just one other person, for example is they work in a less than properly ventilated open-plan office, or they work in close contact with pothers, such as on assemble lines or building works.

      That is why lock-downs need to be put in place early, fast and hard – dither for a month and that single original new case is now at 1k+ new cases per day. This is also why the DfT and govt are so wrong when it comes to re-imposing travel restrictions, the recent restrictions on people returning from France for example should have been immediate, not allow over 24 hrs for possibly infected people to beat the 14 day self-quarantine rules.

    • BOF
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Overall deaths have been below the five year average for seven weeks now. I am one of the rare species who said from day one that lockdown was wrong and will never stop reminding people how well Sweden has done.

      JA in NZ is far left. Interesting that in nearly every country where lockdown has been hardest, leadership is left wing.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know if she is left wing. She seems to be decisive. Nice quality in a leader. Shame we haven’t got a leader like that.

    • ukretired123
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      I Agree that the nonsense is piling up.
      Something sensible and down to earth needs to get a grip on things spiralling out of control.
      Boris seems to have lost his bearings…..

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        .. lost his mind!

    • Andy
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      October is no good for students who’ve lost places at university in August and September. They’ve already a had their lives destroyed by the Tory Brexit government.

      The Eton kids aren’t affected. The Cabinet is dominated by Eton kids. Funny that.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        originality not your strong suit.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

          Anything other than Ad Hominem not your strong suit.

          • ukretired123
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            Free H is spot on !

      • Edward2
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Overall grades are up 2.4% against 2019 grades.

        • Otto
          Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          When did this appealing of one’s grades start? Never happened in my day as we thought the examiners knew what they were doing and were expert enough to give correct grades.

          This appealing surely just indicates that examiners are no good at their job.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 18, 2020 at 2:40 am | Permalink

        “Their lives destroyed” come on Andy grow up they are only a few exams!

  6. Adam
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Having competing interests within the same organisation can often achieve better results if the pulling effect is in the right direction. Rail businesses intending a profit should not have responsibility for safety competing internally.

    Ofqual may aim at a different form of productivity, yet appears to have the latter testing dynamic. If that is so, Regulators who need regulating would be unfit for purpose. Qual off would not sort it.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      +1

  7. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    No-one seems to be coming out of this mess well: the Department of Education; Ofqual; the exam boards; schools. I wonder what they’ve been doing since a decision was made not to hold A-level exams. And I also wonder why, in the absence of, you know, exams to mark, the grading exercise couldn’t have been done sooner. Still, at least we know what the Education select committee will be doing once they’ve come back from their holidays.
    Amongst the many stories infuriating me yesterday was the one about students whose grades were moderated down BELOW what they had achieved in a mock exam. They’re getting most of my sympathy this morning.
    P.S. The conduct of mock exams also seems to have been a right old pickle. The right solution? Have the exam boards set the papers, with the schools holding the exams under full exam conditions, and with the papers marked by the schools. Cheap as chips!!!

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Exactly Sea Warrior they’ve had since April to sort this out.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Correct – someone decided to keep the same release date for normality – crazy

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Sensible – but that doesn’t guarantee the people the govt WANT to be given A* stars, actually getting them and now, manipulation of everything, to suit a certain type of people appears to be paramount.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Remember, remember,
      Build Back Better,
      That means tearing everything down first.
      And trust me…nothing will be better!!!

  8. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Looks like another overstaffed, overpaid government department failing when needed most.

    Too many of these of late, what ever happened to the bonfire of Quango’s and red tape.

    What do all these people do on a day- day basis ?

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      +1

      Oh, the taxpayer, the taxpayer – the magic money tree standing in a bottomless pit

      If they want taxpayer money they should be held to account by the taxpayer! No one else has the right!

    • Will in Hampshire
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      What has Gavin Williamson been doing on a day-to-day basis? He has had more than six months to get this right: looks to me as though he’s failed to do so.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Whisper it quietly.
        Whatever seems to be going horribly wrong..
        THAT IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTS.
        For them it is all about playing psychological tricks on us to nudge us into accepting the “New Normal”.
        It is not normal…it is totally abnormal.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      The Daily Mail found that only 3% of the Department of Education’s HQ staff were going into work last week. I wonder what the figure of Ofqual was.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Many publicly-payrolled inspectors and enforcers of rules in various spheres have disappeared in recent years – in full accordance with the dogma of the Right.

      It has given us everything from horsemeat being sold as beef by an abattoir in Todmorden, to dismal standards in care homes, to the outrage of Grenfell Tower, I think.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        perhaps you would indicate the percentage of horse meat involved in Todmorden compared to the total beef eaten in England annually (include Wales if you have that to hand).

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 5:36 am | Permalink

          Perhaps you would indicate the percentage of the UK population involved in people’s crossing the Channel in dinghies compared to the total number coming and going in England annually (include Wales if you have that to hand).

          • Edward2
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            That is a ridiculous comparison.
            It’s like comparing the number of criminals to the total population and saying crime isn’t important or the number of people who die on the roads compared to the total population and saying that death toll isnt important.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

            The people coming in dinghies don’t get spread equally to every Borough in the Country to be correlated to the total population of the UK though MiC. The newspapers have said about 3000 (it will be more like 5000), they are reported to want to go to their own new community hubs in the main Cities like Newham that is suffering the most appalling housing shortages and overflowing poor quality properties because they bring no money with them, why should the rest of us pay to house people exactly where they want to live in big properties in main Cities, my children aren’t given free homes in the area of London they want to live? Why are we then held responsible for up-homing them when they expand families at ever increasing no care of the cost and consequences to the British State to pay their hospital, doctors, benefits, Schooling costs – France just leaves them in overflowing ex office blocks, underpasses, tents in the mud and the UN and the EU just turn a blind eye.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        One case in Todmorden which concerned traceability records yet a huge scandal in the EU.
        Back in 2013.
        Must have been going on during Labour’s time in office and when the Lib Dems were in coalition government.

        The numbers working in public services has risen.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          the French have eaten it for years.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 5:38 am | Permalink

            Yes, I’ve eaten it there – it’s fine if it’s sold as such.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          Edward it’s very interesting that Martin bangs on about one UK abattoire who said they mainly supplied the meat to Italian restaurants and were prosecuted and brought to justice – it was a massive EU wide processed food fraud lasagne imported frozen from France was found with 80-100% horsemeat labelled as beef, same for Poland, Luxembourg, Romanian and Czech imports – “The 2013 horsemeat scandal shone a bright light on some of the darkest corners of supply chain governance across the European Union, revealing a “blind spot” in current EU food law.1 “Beef” frozen food products were found to contain up to 100 per cent. horse.2 The British and Irish are squeamish about eating horse.” core.ac “EU food law, with its (over) emphasis on food safety, failed to prevent the occurrence of fraud and may even have played an (unintentional) role in facilitating or enhancing it. “

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            Arranging inspection and testing is a national responsibility.

            There is no central European Union inspectorate of food, and it has no remit to do that.

            Plenty here would have gone berserk if it had too.

            The case to which I refer in the UK just happened to be discovered.

            Perhaps more systematic testing would have discovered far more?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            And the same applies in the other 27 EU nations.
            Multiplied by 27.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      What do all these people do on a day- day basis ?

      If only we had a functioning track and trace system to find out

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        According to NF they stand around chatting unmasked and then saunter into town.
        Before being taken on a VIP tour of some ghastly woke football club.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Tax cuts and bonfires of Quango’s and red tape from the Conservatives are just pre-election lies they roll out. Once elected they go out of the window.

      The only way for the country to recover stongly (preferable within four years so that we do not have to suffer Labour/SNP is to have tax cuts and this bonfire now plus to go to cheap energy abandon HS2 and all the other damaging waste. Plus get fair competition, freedom and choice into healthcare, education, transport, housing and broadcasting.

      Alas Boris seems to have turned into another fake Conservative essentially socialist dope just like May, Cameron & Major. Tax borrow and piss down the drain yet again it seesms.

      • Richard1
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Gove would have been a better choice but may not have or the 80 seat majority

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Gove would have been dreadful. Another journalist! We need a doer – not a reporter.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            Who could redeem matters Lynn, do you have a top three?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

            Redwood head and shoulders above the rest. Else we need a caretaker from the very old guard until we can return more people of Redwoods ability.

          • hefner
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

            Could you please tell me what the MPs Head and Shoulder were recently involved in? I must not have been attentive enough.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      @Alan. You beat me to it. I was going to say it’s another expensive quango to get rid of along with many others. All these unecessary positions attract rather large salaries for not much in the way of results. Nice little earners if you can get them.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry – we now have another one ” “clandestine Channel threat commander.””

      Probably got to spend six months sorting out his office decoration. Another six choosing his new taxpayer funded car and chauffeur, then decide how many new recruits in his team. Then his new official paperwork heading etc etc. Meanwhile hundreds a day will still be ferried into free NHS, hotels, cash and the thumbs up to the rest of the family coming.

  9. Javelin
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I don’t think you can grade people on exams they have never taken. It’s not a problem you can solve. So you can’t solve an appeal problem either. Now the Government have made themselves deeply unpopular with many parents and children who have just become old enough to vote.

    Perhaps the Government should have thought about this when the shut the country down for a flu that killed 0.3% of people who were close to dying.

    The Government will also have to find a way to help all the people with other impossible to solve problems such as dying of cancer and other diseases, losing their livelihoods, jobs, their businesses, their careers their homes, their partners, their marriages etc. How do you solve those impossible to solve problems.

    The Government should have thought about the bottom dropping out of their political world when they came up with such a strategy which created so many millions of impossible problems for voters to solve.

    • Javelin
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      As I posted on this site at the start of lockdown many people with impossible to solve problems will be going to court to solve them. I said parents would be going to court. I also said business owners will be going to court. This Governments own impossible to solve problems have only just begun, and the only court they can appeal
      to are the voters with impossible to solve problems.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      He really did not understand how the whole thing was put together. People will demand financial compensation because that is the part of every problem that can be solved.
      I’m a commercial landlord. My tenants all got grants ‘for ongoing business expenses’ – like the rent! The Govt then ordered that they need not pay the rent and I could do nothing. I am seriously out of pocket. I want compensation. It can only come from the Government who created this idiot scenario.
      I’m hoping the Landlords will bring a single case.

  10. Everhopeful
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Is this a rather brutal way of trying to reform the entire appalling exam system?
    To reverse the sacrificing of clever kids on the altar of bl**dy “fairness bleat,bleat”?
    As the Dodo said “Everybody has won and all must have prizes.”
    I suppose a govt. with such a huge majority can weather such a storm?
    Just a shame for the pupils who have been so misled.
    Still..we have ALL been misled in so many things and we are all collateral damage.
    Also a great shame that previous govts could not have been more sensible re education.
    If they hadn’t politicised it with affirmative action ( shudder) we would not be in this situation!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      And looking at the comments…I imagine the idea is that we all start banging on about quangos.
      Diversionary.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Yes I agree Everhopeful, all they do is rename them and replace the same people on transfer and better pay for failing. Best to ignore the diversion.

  11. Irene
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    If you rely on an algorithm, and the algorithm is faulty, sort the algorithm and tinker later with whoever mucked up the algorithm. Don’t pass the buck.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      in some tech organisations they have ‘Code busters’ — who attack the code logic to attempt to break it. It ought to do a good job of initial testing – what happened in this case? AAA might become AAU……nobody blinked!

  12. Bob Dixon
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    The students of today are the voters of tomorrow.
    Boris wake up.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      It won’t be tomorrow, and like others before him – does he care?

  13. Andy
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    This is not an Ofqual mess. It is a Tory Brexit government mess.

    The mock exam change was announced by ministers days before the results came out after they saw what has happened in Scotland.

    The same Cabinet now blaming PHE for Covid failings is seeking to blame Ofqual for the exam mess.

    The buck stops with the Brexit government.

    They are just not very good at governing.

    We all know how this will be fixed. Students will get the grades awarded by their teachers. That genuinely is the only fair outcome.

    The Tory Brexit government can announce this change today or it can keep this story of epic incompetence in the news for more days. It is up to them.

    Suffice to say all of the affected students – both A level and GCSE – will be eligible to vote in 2024. And nothing makes people more likely to vote than a personal grievance against the incumbents.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Boris had been in power for about 12 weeks when this virus hit.

      So I think we can safely say that all the poor pandemic planning was the fault of the previous 20 years of Remain PMs – and all the trade arrangements that lead us to being so vulnerable to infection from a Communist regime.

      Yes. Socialism and serious redistribution of middle class wealth is coming, Andy.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Grades are up 2.4% compared to last year.

    • Andy
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Well, at least they announced the change today. A decent PM would now sack Gavin Williamson for presiding over get another mess.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Would you not first sack the very well paid head of the quango that had the job of actually preparing for this ?

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          I wonder how many of the furloughed people at Ofqual actually did an hours work from April to August, actually, shouldn’t our newspapers and news reporters be asking just what were they doing from home during this period?

          1. What policy did Gavin Williamson tell them he wanted them to achieve “Ministers are responsible for policy decisions, for budget priorities and new legislation”?

          2. What budget did they have to sort out qualifications?

          3. What was their paybill inc employer’s pensions contributions and any at home working bonuses?

          4. Did Gavin Williamson change policy ever 12 to 24 hours as accused by Prof Tina Isaacs, can we see the evidence of this so that we can hold him responsible properly!

          • Edward2
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            I agree tracy.
            The quangos seem very good at pushing the blame upwards.
            I believe the person who wasted over £20 million and several months of vital time on the test and trace app that didn’t work is still in post.

            In the private sector he or she would be sacked.

          • hefner
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

            Lady Dido Harding?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            Baroness to you hef.

          • hefner
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            I stand corrected. But she is now the interim CEO of the newly created NIHP. Fluttering weightlessly from quango to quango?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      There is no ‘Brexit Government’ – there is a British government under direct orders from the Brexit British people who decided to exist!
      But don’t have the wherewithal to comprehend that no matter how many time it is pointed out.

  14. John E
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    All those words and no mention of the role of your friend the Secretary of State For Education!

    The only sense I have heard on this topic came from Worcester College Oxford. They have confirmed places for all the students to whom they had made offers on the basis that these A level grades contained no new information as the students had not sat any exams.

  15. Nigl
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Presumably the Government agrees the structure, the budget and has a say or directly appoints the key people.

    To u turn on guidance in such a short time after presumably previously being 100% certain of the process is clearly total failure of management.

    Once again it is a failure of your governments oversight. We ask the question re the competence of people you appoint umpteen times and your silence is both deafening and better than a thousand words.

    Rightly the papers are saying that actually the problem is incompetent ministers. Yes but over decades handing out key roles for political or diversity reasons rather than ability, With zero performance management, what does the ex head of a telecoms company know about health, has created a non performing sloping shoulders, not my fault, guv culture it’s the lack of money, that lets us down time and time again.

  16. agricola
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Indicating that the A level results as produced by Ofqual are shambolic is one thing. Resolving matters is another.
    The only approaching stable base in this is the assessment of teachers. Their real or imagined inaccuracies are not going to be resolved by some magic formula taking in all the components of social engineering real or concocted for spurious purposes.

    My solution is , let the teachers judgement stand and the students move on to the courses that such judgement qualifies them for. It then remains for the rigours of the course to make the final judgement. If the teachers got it 80% rjght, the students will move on to their chosen professions. If not the students will drop out to less ambitious careers. That is life, get used to it, the solution is not to be found in some hastily devised mathmatical formula.

    • agricola
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Looks like I got that one right.

  17. Roger Hart
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    The present brouhaha seems to be brought about by having to use guesswork and then piling further guesswork on top. Surely it would have been wiser of Ofqual to have stepped back and said ‘we keep the data raw – caveat emptor’.

    Certainly had this sort of ‘no exams – guess – clean up the data’ exercise been repeated a few times we might have some handle on how to make it ‘fairer’. But the present circumstance is a one-off and merely opens the door to the sharp elbowed ‘doing a Full Karen’. Better never to have opened that door.

    And yes, Parkinson’s Law does seem to be in full operation.

  18. JimS
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Every day the skies get darker as more and more of Schrödinger’s cats take to the air, reality just being a ‘social construct’.

    Fake students, taking fake exams, appealing against fake results, preventing them from going to fake universties and getting jobs with the fake BBC and fake political parties.

    Any it who feels it should have triple A* obviously must be given (fake) A* grades.

  19. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Marvellous dissection.

    I have not followed this story as closely as the twitterati, I have always assumed that anyone offered three As by a university was offered those grades as the university did not believe they would get them so hedged its bets.

    Three Bs or an A and two Bs was always the benchmark for students who they wanted and allowed some leeway to. I therefore did not buy into the whole “my life is ruined” victimhood portrayed on social media and in the MSM.

    However when I read that some independent schools overall performance went up as a result of the algorithm, and many state schools overall grades went down, it make we think that the algorithm is wrong and needs to be reviewed (not appealed, reviewed).

    Surely one of those 217 highly paid people looked at this before the results went out.

    But again this is not a government failing, like PHE and NHS it is run by (left leaning) professionals who appear to collect money for performing poorly. It’s only our taxes after all.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Now that we are in more debt than ever before and with the tax take likely to diminish without swingeing increases in the percentages collected, now seems to be a good time to review the quantity, amount paid to and quality of public, taxpayer funded, appointments (including the number of MPs, devolved MPs and local government structures).

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Let’s not cut our own representation and thereby help the Blob. Let’s start by cutting the Blob and upgrade our Representation so it is better able to outwit the Blob.

  20. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Once again we see the government relying on computer algorithms with the consequential chaos. After all the false alarms raised by such approaches during this year in regard to COVID-19 you would have thought they might have learned their lesson – apparently not.

    The responsibility for this mess must lie squarely with the government. If schools needed to close, which is debatable, the exams could & should have still been held. Given the appropriate political will, this was eminently possible. However, as they weren’t, the grades could & should have been produced weeks ago to give more time for resolving controversial outcomes. Perhaps the reason this was not done and grade notification was left so late was because the government wanted to keep any controversy as short as possible to limit any political damage to them. If so, this was yet another miscalculation.

  21. Richard1
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The ‘scientific’ advice to close schools and cancel exams has been a disaster. Exams could easily have proceeded even with schools closed – assuming of course all teachers, not just those in private schools, free schools and a few other state schools had made an effort to adapt working conditions as the rest of the economy had to. Exams were not cancelled eg in Germany or the Netherlands which also closed schools. Sweden kept schools open and had exams and there is no crisis for the education of the current cohort of students there,

    The university year – which in any case is an absurdity with 6 months on and 6 months off – should be postponed to start in January 2021, with A-levels taking place properly in September / October. And schools providing remote teaching and other support during the holidays. The combination of precautionary principle scientific advice, militant unionism and unprofessionalism and lack of ministerial leadership and imagination has been abysmal. It’s not all his fault but mr Williamson needs to be fired.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Richard, what Williamson was guilty of was not managing expectations of the students and parents, not explaining how the grades were going to be decided, not telling students early their teacher’s marks were being adjusted, when were the teens told their teachers assessment mark?

      Not making a fair system to assess private schools, if tweets are to be believed several of them have received overall grades much higher than last year, some by 13% to 33% higher!

      Our universities don’t want to open anyway do they, they want remote teaching, which isn’t worth the £3100 for the first 10 weeks of term 1.

  22. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    The Scottish results were adjusted in a very similar way and produced similar reactions. This was one week before the English results were announced but in that week it seems no-one at all either in Ofqual or the Government bothered to prepare a response to the same problems. I see the Education Committee Chairman now wants to postpone the GCSE results for two weeks – that is to postpone them until after the start of the Sixth Form school year which would therefore start with no pupils. It is a typical government tactic, delay things rather than take any difficult decisions. he says the delay is to ensure the results are “fair” – but they can’t be, all options are unfair either to this year’s students or to past and future cohorts – just decide an approach now and stick to it.

  23. jerry
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I’m getting feed up with this expectation, driven by the 24hr TV news media, for instant comment from who-ever, thus we now get announcements about forthcoming announcements, meaningless holding statements, or worse, policy made on the hoof.

    Thus Ofqual was pressured into making an almost instant statement, that resulted in policy made on the hoof. Having realised that announcement basically allows students, schools & colleges, to basically pick their own grade Ofqual correctly backtracked with a holding statement. Now Ofqual is getting in in the back from the MSM (and politicos, trying to be seen to be doing/saying something, anything) for withdrawing a statement that should never have been made, and the MSM should never have asked for!

    Two points strike me, correct me if my conclusion is wrong;
    1/. All grades seems to have been marked down
    2/. There will be less or even zero numbers of non UK students entering our higher education colleges and Uni’s this year.

    Higher education is now, rightly or wrongly, a business, thus like any business they will want to maximise their income for 2020/21 onwards. So with less non UK students & with lower than expected UK grades this summer, will it not mean their admissions criteria will have to be adjusted [1], thus it is likely that those who think they have missed out due to lower than expected grades will still be accepted whilst many who did not get an initial offer may well be offered a place via the UCAS process?

    The MSM should be discussed with themselves, sowing the idea of “failure” in the minds of students, often just to fill copy space, politicos should be disgusted with themselves for taking political advantage before the empty envelopes have even hit the recycling bin and the true situation has becomes clear – it wasn’t Ofqual who needed to make the holding statement but UCAS…

    [1] even without grade appeals, in fact grade appeals could complicate things further and disadvantage far more

  24. Tabulazero
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Quick ! Quick!

    Look!

    Shiny bait !

    Take it !

    Good attempt at trying to deflect the blame from your fellow Tory colleague Gavin Williamson who made his announcement before even bothering to notify OFQUAL, leaving it with two days to come up with a solution.

    How long has the UK been in lockdown for ? Could it not be foreseen that holding exams under the circumstances would be difficult ? Could the Secretary of State for Education have spared some how his precious time to actually do something about it ?

    No.

    Instead, let’s have the Tory MPs feed a few nameless officials to the press, the party faithfuls and the wider public in the hope that the people forget which government was in charge during this mess and did not deign to do the minimum effort required to avoid it.

    There used to be a time when Secretary of States or Ministers used to resign out of shame when found incompetence. I guess we now live in a post-Chris Grayling world where the bar has moved.

    Reply M

    • Tabulazero
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Reply-to-Reply: You are obviosuly lost for words and so am I.

      And in the meantime, where is El Leader Supremo Boris Johnson ?

      Yet again nowhere to be seen…

      Is he already gone or holiday or just hiding ?

      This one will not go away and it will hit hards the kids of many Conservative voters. They are unlikely to forget or forgive.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        But they will still vote Tory.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          You are totally confusing the lefty trolls on here Mike.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            I mean they cannot consider that in four years time the Conservatives will be elected once more.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 20, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          Not all of them.

  25. JoolsB
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Yet another complete and unnecessary utter farce of this useless Government’s own making. A level students have been sat at home for 6 months, they could have been studying for exams which COULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE. Even if it meant hiring halls, they could have done it with them social distancing and wearing their masks.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Jools They could have done them on the plane going over to Spain on their holidays.. Tongue in cheek.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Most lessons have finished being delivered for A level students by the end of March, the students missed one week of lessons at the most, then they started two weeks holiday. They would have all been in the same boat and home revision with online support should have been organised and exams sat, they sit apart in tests anyway with one invigilator who could have sat behind a screen as supermarket staff did, and hospital workers, drivers, you know all those jobs that kept the country moving and surviving.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      This was the obvious solution.

  26. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Maybe Ofqual’s Director of Communications was available for comment, but she was muzzled by a government concerned she might say something to embarrass them, given the hot political nature of these confected exam results.
    Ofqual is in an impossible situation. If they accepted teacher’s grade assessments they would be charged with grade inflation. Moderate the teacher’s assessments and many pupils are peeved they’ve been downgraded.
    All because the government decided to close down the schools, running scared in the face of a virus problem that should be confronted.

  27. a-tracy
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Look this is the Universities problem too. The University should offer a specific test for their course for anyone on the cusp of entry standards, if they pass without revision or months to prepare you’re in, if you don’t you’re out. Anyone not going to University should be able to sit their exam in September, get swatting teens if you think you’re good enough to pass.

    All the big companies when these young adults qualify do online testing before they offer jobs, they don’t trust degrees such is the variance between institutions and many public organisations can’t even ask which University you qualified at so they have to have their own personality profiling and if the subject is Maths based specific mathematical reasoning tests.

    The left makes me laugh for years they want to do away with SATs and exams altogether yet now they can’t find a quick solution, even though most of the teachers and lecturers never left education and had to compete in the real world. Industry and highest payer employers don’t trust the teachers and lecturers grade assessments.

  28. Peter Parsons
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Just imagine how easy the situation would be to resolve if each pupil already had a body of marked and moderated work which had been undertaken prior to March, for example an AS level grade in each subject which was to count towards the A level grade and some marked and moderated coursework.

    That would have all been possible until the likes of Michael Gove got his hands on the education system and changed it back to all being about one or more exams at the end of two years.

  29. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    These results and exams must be taken with a pinch of salt and it may be good to retake many next year . I however do not think this continual pushing in of facts to get high grades is a good way of educating children . The competition to get high grades takes away the purpose of education . You may argue what then is the purpose of education , but I believe ramming in information to get a high grade in exams is not beneficial and doesn’t give the growing adult a basis in his / her daily life an ability to learn in a way conducive to everyday life.

  30. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Whose decision was it not to hold the exams in the first place?

  31. Caterpillar
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    1. Govt should have insisted exams took place even if schools were closed. This is Govt and Mr Williamson’s fault.
    2. Appeals should not be allowed let alone encouraged. The statistical adjustment has taken place and has not been shown to be invalid. This is Govt and Mr Williamson’s fault.
    3. If Ofqual’s model has had to adjust many grades in particular schools to bring them in line with reasonable statistical expectation then it is up to that school to show why it expected vast improvement or to explain why it and its teachers over predicted so much. This looks like a problem with specific schools or teachers with unrealistic predictions.

    I usually defend teachers, and I would happily criticise Ofqual, but in this case it looks like the problem lies with Govt (Mr Williamson) and schools/teachers.

    The one thing that must not happen is for pupils whether GCSE or A-level to get trachers’ predicted grades – they are reliably unrealistic as shown statistically, and it throws the (perhaps few) realistic predicting teachers/schools under the bus.

    The only thing that should happen is for a school to appeal before individual results are released if the distribution of its grades is greatly different to previous years. I do not know if schools received results prior to individual students, if they didn’t then this was a process design failure.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Partial aside:-

      When I see pupils and students campaigning for teacher predictions and against algorithms, I really worry about the U.K. future in a data and algorithm rich world.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Algorithms are only as good as those who create them. Done badly, they can be a disaster and there are many examples of how an inherent bias has found its way into an algorithm, either as a result of how the algorithm has been coded, or through the use of inappropriate or inadequate training sets.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

          This is true, but in this case we know the teachers are biased. There has been no indication that the algorithm is more biased than the teachers.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            How do you know that? Evidence please.

  32. Caterpillar
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Am I too cynical to notice,

    Mr Williamson … hmmm …. Ofqual’s fault
    Mr Hancock … hmmm… PHE’s fault
    Mr Sunak … hmmm…

  33. glen cullen
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Too many generals and too many foot soldiers another oversized quango

  34. William Long
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    This chaos in part is what comes from failure to control quangos; but it is also the result of a failure to ensure communication: a failure of political leadership. The Education Secretary has known ever since it was decided not to hold GCSE and ‘A’ level exams this year, some five months, that there would be a need for a fair substitute process, including an appeal process in which all could have confidence. It does not appear that he has done anything to get the various interested parties together to agree a way forward which they all could support; they are still arguing even now after the ‘A’ level results have been published. How can he remain in office?

  35. glen cullen
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I can remember a time pre-blair era when ‘O’ & ‘A’ level results weren’t a news item, now it seems like the media goes mad for 2 weeks, some might say easier and better times….

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      In countries with a properly written constitution – nearly all of them – education is usually a constitutional right for its people, like much else.

      Messing it up, or using it as a political football during election campaigns is an absolute no-no there.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        I had one lad to A levels and the other the IB.

        The IB was shockingly more rigorous and demanding than the A level.

        Their cousin (who got good maths A levels) needed to do remedial work in his first year of his maths course at university.

        I got an A level with only FIVE DAY’S study over a decade ago.

        Messing it up and using it as a political football has been going on for some while now – hence the need for * grades. (Which Andy doubtless thinks is because kids are cleverer.)

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        We have the Greatest Written Constitution of all time. Are you speaking of a 1 page CODIFIED constitution which binds you for all time – and are even you stupid enough to think that superior to our Glorious Constitution?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

          There is nothing in the UK’s Constitution which cannot be overturned by a simple majority vote in Parliament.

          It does not, therefore, meet the generally accepted, modern, international standards for constitutions.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

            How many times in the last ten years has the UKs Constitution been overturned by a simple majority vote in Parliament Martin do you know? I’m also intrigued which matters were overturned.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

            Or the last hundred years.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            When the Fixed Term Parliaments Act was scuppered by its very own authors to enable a Tory government.

            Next?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 19, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            There was a vote and opposition parties helped vote for an election.
            It was part of the existing law passed by Parliament.
            A sufficient majority was achieved under the legislation.
            There was no overturning of any constitutional element.
            Perhaps you are still smarting about the result.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 20, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            The frequency and terms of legislative elections are a central part of nearly all modern constitutions.

            Your inane, contorted response proves my point.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            I cannot see how you think that your point is proven.
            Your contorted inane response fails to back your claim because nothing like you worry about has hever happened.
            Our constitution is more strong and robust and well developed than you think.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        That’s my point that’s exactly what Blairs government did and all subsequent governments

      • Edward2
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        Just copying the UK which had the right for free education for all in the 1950s.

  36. Nigl
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I see Ofqual is blaming you. I suggest you get some communication fire power out especially as labour is also blaming you conveniently forgetting what their position was a few days ago.

    The reality is no system is going to 100% accurate and if you fall into the ‘loser’ category it will be automatically unfair.

    What we seeing Is an example of no one with any political cojones to tell it as it is. Weak and woke. Now where is the tumbrel?

  37. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Its all a bit bizarre. The MsM is writing a narrative to fit a non-existent situation.

    It is suggested students aren’t happy with the grades for exams they haven’t taken. Yet in the world of pseudo-land more students have been handed higher grades than ever before. Even without that background the exams were to be harder, to separate the wheat from the chaff. If ever there was an illustration of a new breed of humans that expect to be given rather than earn – there it is. Results not good enough shout loudly and you will get the one you want.

    Answer; give all the students the top grade. The proper Universities are leaning towards entrance exams to over come the weakness of the existing exam process anyway.

    With the GCSE results around the corner, for the exams they missed last term, let them sit them in the coming term. After all they have all carried on studying, so should by definition do better with all that extra study term under their belt.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Don’t know why we bother with A levels – Universities will never turn away any student with the assoicated government funding

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        +1 seems some of them can’t read write or do ‘rithmetic either. Certainly none know right from wrong, and these are the critical 5 R’s!

  38. Nick of Wokingham
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    As expected, blaming the quangocracy and toeing the line from the Troika (DC-BJ-MG).

    (clue: the Cons have been in Government for long enough to shape things as required – and if nearly 10 years isn’t long enough, time to get out of the kitchen. Save me banal responses about this being a ‘new’ government)

    This government needs own it’s own mess. And it starts at the top.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      So how come the Lab/Lib-Dem leadership in Wales and the SNP in Scotland had to do exactly the same thing ? If you don’t want to blame the civil service you need to explain that.

      • Nick of Wokingham
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        The answer is I live in England, not Scotland or Wales. I am concerning myself with the mess created here and not this sort of whataboutery. I am afraid I believe in holding the CEO to account. But that is next to impossible because the lazy so-in-so is always off on holiday. But, perhaps his new spokesperson (paid handsomely from the public purse) will be able to answer for the MIA PM in due course!

    • Mark B
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Here here

  39. ChrisS
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Tony Blair was on the Today Programme this morning with a very sensible set of proposals on how we should live with the pandemic until there is a working vaccine. Whatever we thought of his EU and Iraq policy and for keeping Brown as chancellor for far too long, in many respects he was an excellent PM. He at least inspired confidence in a way that Boris and Gavin Williamson are struggling to do.

    Clearly schools should have been much more rigorous in setting course work for children kept out of school and the headteacher who was suspended for saying that some of her staff had not been working while at home was right.

    The grade debacle was so easily predictable and they have had months to get it right. The fact that they have not means that heads should roll at Ofqual. Gavin Williamson has proved that he’s no Michael Gove and will have to be replaced at some point, just not now.

    Boris would do well to make Gove Deputy PM and put him in overall charge of Education, The Home Office and the NHS with the three Secretaries of State reporting to him on a daily basis.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Johnson is already Deputy PM.

      We can’t have two.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        why not – twice the fun!

      • Edward2
        Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        Wrong again.
        There is no current appointed deputy PM.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          Ed, read the post to which I reply, and what I say carefully, before posting yourself, and so spare yourself some blushes, eh?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            You said jonson is deputy PM
            There has not been anyone appointed.
            The blushes are all yours.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Blair and Thatcher.
      Really the only two PMs who would have been well organised enough to have avoided this mess since Macmillan, perhaps earlier. Imagine May, Major, Cameron, Brown, Heath – no better, though many weren’t surrounded by the fools and juveniles there at present. Compare the dream team – Tebbit, Parkinson, Whitelaw, Nic Ridley, Lawson, Maude, Lamont Carrington with – Williamson, Patel, Hancock, Truss, Jenrick, Sharma, Lewis.

      Really on a different planet.

      Possibly Wilson would have wound his way through this.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        😂😂 ‘Blair and Thatcher’ in the same sentence!
        Dream team … Whitelaw (negotiated with the IRA) Lawson (supported joining the ‘ERM’) Maud (Signed the Maastricht Treaty) Carrington (Betrayed Ian Smith and thus destroyed Rhodesia Causing millions of lost lives and untold suffering – Carringtons of course have been traitors for generations)
        The stuff of nightmares!

        • hefner
          Posted August 20, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          The total number of deaths in the Rhodesian conflict between July 1964 and December 1979 has been estimated by various international sources to have been between 20,000 and 25,000, not millions. Millions were displaced not killed.
          And Lord Carrington did not betray Ian Smith: Ian Smith’s Rhodesia had already been condemned by many countries including the UK from around 1971 before he was involved in the Lancaster House Agreement.
          Rewriting history according to your prejudices?

  40. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    It should not be lost on any one that matters, Ofqual , as with the Teachers and the Schools with the exam results are looking to pat themselves on the back, nothing else matters.

    So a Teacher doing assessment on a pupil is in fact them saying they are great is because that means I have done a great job and a great teacher. The schools and Ofqual likewise the results are a reflection on their abilities. But, who is checking them? That’s right no one.

    Without failure you cannot advance

  41. formula57
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Would these clowns be better named “Qual-of”?

  42. Iago
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The main activity of the civil service appears to be twisting or distorting society in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, Labour/Communist legislation but passed by Cameron and his false conservative MPs after the general election. From my very limited connection with the civil service, it appears to me that, when deciding who should get a job, they are not concerned with appointing the best person but with complying with quotas as regards race, gender and all the rest. Is this what is happening with the downgrading of A level grades, the allocation of better grades to some parts of the country and lower grades elsewhere (overall the grades being the same as last year)? Before this year and the Mock A levels this process would have been hidden, but now with the grades originating from the schools the process has to be apparent even if unexplained. This sort of discrimination is happening with Oxbridge entrance, so why not at A level?

  43. rose
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    This quango sounds, well, just like a quango.

    Rather than arguing about an algorithm most people haven’t got the information to judge, we should be reflecting on why we are in this situation. Originally the government didn’t want to impose a curfew. Then, when curfew was imposed in effect by the media, unions, teachers, and some parents, the Government didn’t want schools included. The Blob prevailed as usual and schools were shut, except to key workers’ children and “vulnerable” children. Only a fraction of these actually turned up.

    HMG had no power to keep schools open or, now, to open them again. They were reduced to cajoling the teachers back to work and without success so far. How much time and effort has gone on this thankless task, which could have been spent on education?.

    HMG had the possible course open to it of saying the exams would be sat come what may. Perhaps they tried this, but if the Blob didn’t want this, it wasn’t going to happen.

    The solution someone came up with, of asking teachers to mark their own work, was always going to end in tears. Their overall record of predicting is abysmal, as any university will tell you. Some teachers are professional and have the highest standards of integrity, as we saw during the curfew when some pupils were at the kitchen table by 9 am, applying themselves rigorously. Unfortunately, all too many others are the opposite, and their pupils were not supervised in any way. With this huge range of teacher behaviour and attitudes, how could anyone have thought this a sensible way to proceed? The Scottish National Socialists have naturally spotted it is a brilliant way of buying the teenage vote, and have taken it. Now the media, who played such a large part in crashing our education system, are urging us all to follow suit. Never mind that the whole credibility of the exam system is undermined; never mind that this year’s A level pupils will have nothing of value with which to go through life; Wee Nicola’s pedestal will be that much higher.

  44. Nigl
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    And in another example of systemic failure the Home Office claims it was a ‘mistake’ to house illegals immigrants in a three star hotel. Nothing to do with being in Priti Patels constituency?

    Yeah right.

  45. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Over a 1000 brought in in ten straight days – something to be applauded. Why doesn’t the govt just admit the world? “Free Everything” in big flashing neon signs. And can you order the BBC to stop them playing “Rule Britannia” at the Proms? After all – -we are now a GLOBAL farce.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Well… it was a Tory PM who destabilised Libya and accomplished what Gadaffi threatened to do.

  46. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Extend this across the thousands of similar organisations, across government and the civil service and it’s obvious why this country goes from misfortune to crisis to authoritarianism and bankruptcy.

    In spite of this latest excellent disclosure the establishment will again close ranks, move people around and pretend something has been done.

    Millions of people working in non jobs, lording it over the quiet and innocent who soon must rise up and throw them into the street.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Seems all we have to do Prangwizard is to march on London with our handwritten cardboard signs one new topic each month make a lot of noise, stir up the media and voila force a U-turn.

  47. Fred H
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Help me understand how all this works (or not!).
    Mock exams, predicted grades, actual exams (5 setting Boards in England, Wales, NI) – Appeals. University acceptance for places depending on what? – at what time? some decide after mocks, others on predicted – most confirmed offers on actual results?
    Then there are Ofqual, Dept.of Education, Ofsted, National Curriculum setting – Key stages, Religious education, Performance Tables, Academies. State & Private schools.
    Pupil funding, per child Primary/Secondary, Pupil premium, Age Weighted Pupil Funding, Special educational needs.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      The bureaucracy is amazing and you haven’t even mentioned the quality of teaching, course-work and class-projects AND LOCAL EDUCATION AUTHORITIES

  48. Nigl
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Just breaking. And in another performance issue, the UKs Information Commissioner has been working from Canada for the last few months, only 8 hours time difference. Full pay.

    How can that not impact on performance? I have heard of remote working!! But …….?

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      unbelieveable

  49. a-tracy
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    In previous years teens who haven’t got the grades they expected or required for their university offer had an appeals process through their High School, people were hired to deal with this with the Head and some Heads of Department were co-ordinating and assisted with appealing on their pupil’s behalf or helping the pupil through clearing if they felt the grades were justified through previous and continuous assessment they carry out for the previous years, quarterly assessments in our school and college’s case. Oxford has already said they have assessed 300 pupils that missed the marker from State schools and upped their offers to State school pupils using their own assessment and they can’t offer any other places even if grades should go up now. Have the other Universities done this or not?

  50. Thames Trader
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    The media – particularly the BBC – have been full of lengthy tales from students who have been downgraded and those affected are portrayed as victims. Apparently around 40% have been downgraded. We’ve heard almost nothing from the 60% who aren’t affected or from those in charge of implementing the policy about what they’ve done and why. Getting lower grades than expected is nothing new – it happens every year – which is why the Clearing system exists. We should be given statistics about how the downgrading this year compares with lower grades and clearing in normal years. I suspect the numbers are around the same and this is another example of victimhood and the media grabbing the opportunity to bash the government. Having said this, there have been worrying examples on TV of students expected to get an A grade but ended up with a U. I can’t see how this can be justified and more explanation is needed.

  51. Nigl
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    So let me get this right. It was agreed that an additional check and balance was needed in case, perish the thought, that the teachers had over marked, and an algorithm developed, that again met little resistance.

    Following the cacophony of ‘its unfair’ senior politicians, who had not been previously involved or seemingly interested, suddenly develop an expertise in said algorithm declaring it obviously flawed. Presumably they failed to include some kind of equation ensuring that the louder people shout, the easier the passmark becomes.

    So the ridiculous grade inflation seen in Scotland is ok then?

  52. gregory martin
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the simplest way forward would be an ‘entrance exam’ at the instigation of universities to fine- tune their selection in the way that many HR depts require at an interview. The grades in recent years have become largely arbitary and rarely reflect the success in future years. I am sure we all have firsthand experience of sucess and disappointments which rather conflict with educational outcome under the system !

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Crucial surely?

  53. Andy
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Apparently Boris Johnson is going on holiday because his job is stressful. He also had a holiday over Christmas, took a break in February, was off for 6 weeks ill in April and May. Then he has paternity leave at some point too.

    To be honest though, it is probably just as well he’s only a part-time PM. He makes such a hash of things on the rare occasions he bothers with work that it’s probably better for all of us if he doesn’t bother with it very much.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      I imagine you would be glad to be allowed time in hospital if you were ill

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      I suggest you join Boris on holiday and bore him with your opinions about governing, thus giving us all a break from both of you simultaneously.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Tell us Andy how many weeks off work do you take each year?
      How many weeks holiday per year totally away from the workplace do you think the Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition should be allowed to take on holiday saying s/he has a deputy?

  54. Caterpillar
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    If the Govt announces at 4pm today that teachers’ grades are to replace statistical analysis it will confirm –

    1) GCSE and A-level exams are worthless. There is no gold standard.
    2) The Govt doesn’t do do data it does opinion.
    3) The Govt doesn’t do meritocracy it does protests and needs.
    4) The Govt doesn’t care about quality control of schools (every school.that has overestimated compared with its history should be investigated).
    5) Pupils and parents must learn not to seek good teachers and good schools, but to seek ‘soft’ teachers

    etc.

    Hopefully the Govt will come out and say no regrading, no appeals, and over forecasting schools and teachers will be investigated. I do not expect this. This Johnson Govt is a disgrace, all it cares about is selective prizes to those it chooses.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how many decent teachers are now living in fear of retribution. Teachers were not meant to discuss grades with pupils, some poorer teachers were soft, better teachers were realistic. However well individual schools and colleges moderated internally, the Govt has just put the best and most realistic teachers in an unbelievable situation. This Govt’s behaviour is not only incompetent, it is vile.

  55. NelsonPK
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Once it realised the moderation algorithm was fatally flawed, Scotland laid out a breadcrumb trail for all the UK nations to follow to fix the problem. Instead ministers for Education in England doubled0down and talked of “robust” moderation and a “triple-lock” for appeals – all too late for those denied their University placement of choice of course.

    Now the Govt is going to accept CAGs after all. An utter shambles that was clearly signposted by the Scots, your Government is a shambles Mr Redwood.

    • ChrisS
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Sturgeon did not fix anything :
      with at least one eye on the next Holyrood elections, she took political expedience to a new level and rolled over.

      The boss of Offqual made a complete pig’s ear of his only job in life and should be sacked immediately. He left Williamson hung out to dry but the minister should have know better and asked some serious questions at least a month ago. Was he properly warned of this impending disaster by his civil servants ?

      They all left it too late to do anything sensible to put matters right so he will have to go as well in time.

      Far too often the Johnson Government is being seen to be following Sturgeon’s lead. This is boosting her ratings and making English voters extremely angry.
      We know she is an opportunist little socialist ( five-letter B-word omitted ) and to see her running rings around us at Westminster is nothing but shameful.

      Thank goodness Parliament isn’t sitting otherwise we would have to listen to the deeply unimpressive Blackford laying into Boris on Wednesday.

      Your colleagues in government need to get a grip, Sir John.

  56. NigelE
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It’s totally embarrassing that the public sector is performing so poorly. Do you, Sir John and your fellow MPs feel no shame for the performance of organisation such as Ofqual and PHE that have been set up and maintained in your name?

  57. Zorro
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Dear JR, I hope that you are enjoying living in our shiny, new bio-security state lovingly implemented through the Coronavirus Bill 2020. Indeed, you must be as we see precious little opposition from you to it. When are you going to call for this madness to end?

    Zorro, a concerned constituent

  58. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    The MsM creates a narrative an agenda if you like and the Government jumps to it. I never voted for any journalist or media editor to run this Country – but the certainly do!.

    As for the exams, 9% more students had already been awarded higher results than is traditional. According for the MsM that wasn’t enough they all should get the top prize for a qualification they had never been or examined on.

    For the most part it means nothing to me personaly. Teachers saying how Great they are getting more pupils with higher grade than they traditionally achieve – a big pat on the back for the Teachers. A future employer just needs to know these are the 2020 kids – so avoid. The Teaching cabal have decreed that they will help destroy aspiration and meaning of achievement. The concern I would express is the MsM is creating the narrative that the Government therefore Parliament has to follow. It is the destruction of Society that Corbin wished for -at least he was honest about it. Now the MsM gets to build their left wing paradise in their own image.

  59. Anonymous
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not forget the teaching Union’s part in all this. And the CCP’s for that matter.

    I blame the totally over the top lockdown.

    Despite the infection rate showing that the mortality rate is a lot lower than first thought we must wear soggy masks in order to spare the government embarrassment and to make the situation look a lot more serious than it actually is.

    • Zorro
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      I am exempt but would refuse to be muzzled anyway. It is Johnson and Cummings who should be muzzled forever.

      Zorro

  60. acorn
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    If you want to play spot-the-quango, have a look at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations . For starters, you could dump at least nine out of ten of any public body whose title starts with “Office …”. Similar for those with a title that starts with “Independent …”. You can get rid of all who have the word “Advisory” in its title.

    The latest edition of WGA is interesting, you only need to read Chapter 1. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/902427/WGA_2018-19_Final_signed_21-07-20_for_APS.pdf . Don’t ask me why it takes 16 months to publish this data.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      good info and I agree with your assessment

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      The Great Britain China Centre (GBCC) promotes mutual trust and understanding between the UK and China, GBCC is an executive non-departmental public body

      You’ve got be joking the tax-payer is funding this ?
      What have we got a FCO for ?

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      National Citizen Service

      I am just about to give up with this government

  61. Rhoddas
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Can’t help but laugh at exam grades U =-turn, just makes them worthless … just give everybody an A and a certificate saying well done loser, please dont cry now you got an A… Results were already 5% up on previous years, now if they give another 40% higher grades… welcome to the nanny state.

  62. Jiminyjim
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    There is really only one answer to this ridiculous situation. The schools that have deliberately and consciously over-forecast their pupils results should be penalised every time they do it. It has become an entire industry, getting worse every year. UCAS knows exactly who they are. And at the same time, the Universities that state what their entry requirements are and then deliberately and consciously downgrade them in order to fill places, also need to be penalised. We should aim to get to a point that it is very rare for pupils to do worse than forecast by their schools and unheard of for Universities to allow people in with less than the results they have demanded. The root cause of the current problem is a combination of these two issues

  63. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Ask yourself another question: do we need Ofqual? We need a schools inspectorate to visit schools to assess their performance. But qualifications could be a matter for the Secretary of State for Education plus a few supporting civil servants.

    It seems that the Government is about to do a U-turn and award grades based on teachers’ assessments. Yet there has undoubtedly been grade inflation:
    – The percentage of A* grades is up
    – The percentage of A* and A grades is up
    – The percentage of A* to C grades is up

    The likely consequence is that more University places will be awarded than the universities can reasonably accommodate and the chuck out rate at the end of the coming academic year will be greater than normal. To spell it out, more young people will waste a year of their lives.

    Perhaps the mud should stick to the teaching profession but I’ll wager it won’t.

  64. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    As has been pointed out elsewhere, the best universities will now be required to honour all the conditional offers they made which assumed the usual distribution of A grades – but the massive grade inflation will now result in them having to accept far more students than they have capacity for. The universities down the scale will get less students than they planned for and demand compensation. I suppose Williamson hasn’t thought of this. No mention of BTECH I see – not enough middle-class whiners impacted by that to change government policy.

  65. DaveK
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Since the teaching unions are now in charge, they don’t need to. The government has just created 3 years worth of staunch socialists.

  66. An English Partisan
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    More things in ever more areas will go distasterously wrong because leadership and direction from Boris the PM is either chaotic or absent.

  67. Tabulazero
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I suggest doing your EU analysis piece sooner than later in the hope of distracting the public.

    Quick! Throw a dead cat on the table and change the subject !

    The diversion tactic of throwing a few mandarins to the wolves does not appear to be working.

    It’s time to move to plan B.

  68. glen cullen
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if its true that the UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has been living and working in and from Canada and is still employed by us ? On a salary more than the PM – source order-order

  69. Philip P.
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,

    Off this topic but in response to your post of yesterday. I counted 42 explicit answers to the question you asked: Would people be willing to have a vaccination against Covid 19? Nine said they would, 33 said they wouldn’t. That’s over 75% rejection of a vaccine. If this informal survey was intended to help you make your mind up, I hope it has. Will you therefore commit to voting against a bill making a Covid 19 vaccination mandatory, and/or penalising those not vaccinated against Covid 19?

    • Zorro
      Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      That would mean JR taking a stand for human rights, let’s hope he is up to it.

      Zorro

    • hefner
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      What is the statistical significance of this sample of 42 people? That’s 42 people having nothing much better to do than reading this blog (me included obviously). Among them a good number of people feeling warm and cosy in this nicely ethno-nationalist environment.
      There is a bit more than 78,000 people in Sir John’s constituency. Maybe he could have a survey on the question run among ‘his’ people instead of taking your ‘offer’. That would certainly be more relevant.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Commenters here are mostly a very particular minority of the public.

      Their attitudes to vaccination, and to most things, are not representative of the public generally.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        One in six would refuse the vaccine says the Guardian 6th July.
        Seems this site is quite typical of the wider population.

        • hefner
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          9/42 equals ‘one in six‘? That confirms some of my ideas about you.

  70. glen cullen
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Time for ‘OFQUAL’ to change its name

  71. mancunius
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    The government gave way to the teachers’ unions and so the examinations did not take place. The marks are all fake, however manipulated.
    The government gave way to the medical unions, so the Nightingale hospitals went unused and the NHS was virtually closed down.
    The government gave way to local government unions, so LAs closed all their facilities and are now taking our money for almost no services at all.
    The government gave way to the TfL unions, so the tube was virtually closed down and its management actually urged fare-paying passengers not to use it.
    The government gave way to the rail unions, rendering trains unviable and forcing the nationalisation of the system – the one goal that union-sponsored Labour MPs had been aiming at since 2010, and one of their 2019 platform policies.
    The Tories are doing Labour’s job for them, even more thoroughly than a Labour government would.
    None of us voted for any of this.

  72. formula57
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    So this predicted fiasco (numerous commenters here to your previous posts) moves on to now provide for awarded grades to match the higher of teacher predictions or the Ofqual moderated grade! And people are supposed to treat the grades awarded seriously?

    Why is the Government missing the opportunity now presented to award good A level grades to each Channel crossing “refugee” from France? The Government is not being racists I hope.

  73. Yossarion
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    If this is true John surely this against English votes on English Laws?
    In England the Scottish National Party (SNP), not The Labour Party, are acting as the Opposition. The SNP has tabled a motion for the resignation of the minister responsible for English education, Gavin Williamson, and the Speaker has indicated that he would be supportive of a recall of Parliament to debate it.

  74. glen cullen
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I have a dream…..a dream where politicians do there job and take responsibility for that job and there isn’t any need for quangos

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 3:37 am | Permalink

      Should politician have much to do with education at all? I would just give parents or guardians an education voucher for each child that they could use(and top up if needed) at a privately school of their choice.

  75. Iain Gill
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    are we really supposed to sit by and watch as dido harding gets more and more promotions for failure? are we really supposed to believe this is somehow a meritocracy in action?

    get a grip FFS

  76. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Ofqual. Sounds Orwellian.

    Maybe if they had decent packages and pensions they would get capable people.

  77. Mark
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    The question now is how does an employer appeal an A level grade? Or have any use for it?

    We forget too easily that the majority of school leavers don’t go to university, and depend on having a qualification of value. This year’s qualifications are now worthless. It should have been back to school, finish the curriculum, revise and sit the exams.

  78. Ian
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Off with there heads, the worst Labour Government ever ?
    Some one said Vote Tory get Labour ,boy were they right.
    An Election is called for now
    Let’s get Nigel in to clean up Westminster !

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Farage is probably even more work-averse than Johnson.

      You are in fantasy land.

  79. Helen Smith
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Ofqual should have issued its estimates of grades weeks ago, there was no need to wait until the traditional time, then appeals could have been made and if necessary exams sat in plenty of time for the new university year.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 19, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Do you think, for one moment, that anyone in this shambles of a government wanted the job of setting up some system, even by delegation, to enable that?

      • Edward2
        Posted August 21, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Ofqual are a separate quango.
        They can take those decisions if they wanted.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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