But at least two schools were not opening as planned because of people testing positive for cat. The handling of this year's A-level results has led to "a great injustice", with some students receiving "utterly baffling" grades, according to the Grammar School Heads Association (GSHA). Updated guidelines for schools for coping with local outbreaks are expected within weeks. 'In making a choice between guarding exam standards and fairness to individual students, it is much more important to prioritise fairness to students. 'This demonstrates the importance of holding public exams and how hard it is to devise a system anywhere near as good. ', Mr Watkin added: 'Correct it and run it again, and that way we should be able to see the numbers fall in line with previous years and not tens, if not hundreds of thousands of young people suffering as they are right now because they are not getting into the university of their choice or the employment of their choice.'. 'People have Zoom fatigue but it's not our fault', How to talk about conspiracy theories at Christmas, 'Savage Mountain' awaits unprecedented winter climb, The little-known bias in every photograph. 'Although teachers' assessments alone can lead to grade inflation, it seems that the Ofqual algorithm is a blunt instrument and has adversely affected schools and colleges with large sixth forms. Sir Robert told Times Radio: 'Either you go to the simplest solution, which is to go to teacher assessment, CAG, or you have a very generous and broad-based appeal system that takes people well up and above the 2% grade inflation, 4 or 5% up, so that many people get grades given back.'. Anyone who has travelled to Manchester from any Tier 4 area should isolate for ten days even if they don't... Is Britain really the sick man of Europe? He said missing any more school was "far more damaging" for children. Quiz of the Year, part four: Can you end 2020 on a high? Mr Williamson has consistently argued moderation was essential to prevent 'rampant grade inflation' after actual exams were cancelled amid the coronavirus crisis, insisting there can be no U-turn. However, the plan to use a mathematical model remains the same in the UK, despite the furore caused by using an algorithm for A-levels. “Seventy of my students have not had their first choice of university,” she said. She tweeted that the algorithm problems had 'exclusively impacted young people and of course age is a protected characteristic', adding that as chair of the committee she was 'keen to support' any inquiry. Those concerns are likely to strengthen the hands of teaching unions who are pressing for teacher assessments as the only fair way forward. “Normally that would be about five, or 10 maybe, students.” Several leading Conservatives have piled the pressure on the Government to scrap the controversial algorithm. Dr Jenny Harries, England's deputy chief medical officer, told BBC Breakfast the study should "reassure" teachers that transmission from students to teachers was rare. On allowing students to receive their teacher-assessed grades, she added: 'I recognise that it is not perfect, you can back that up, of course, with an appeals system which can include looking at the mock results if they're available and if they're felt to be robust. Highways England could face manslaughter charge over death of grandmother, 62, who died in horror smash when... Mixed race wife of Eton teacher sacked over 'toxic masculinity' lecture slams the school's 'wokery' - saying... Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline, David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline. ', Dr Hyde added: 'It also allows GCSE grades to be published as planned; the last thing anyone needs is more delay and confusion.'. The Stormont Assembly is set to be recalled from summer recess to debate the furore caused by the standardisation formula used for A-levels. By Sean Coughlan. We need this sorted ASAP.'. Tory former minister Tracey Crouch joined calls for A-level students in England to be awarded teacher-assessed grades as the Ofqual algorithm is 'flawed'. Critics have complained the algorithm unfairly penalised many pupils, particularly those who attend schools in more disadvantaged areas. By Danyal Hussain For Mailonline and Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline and David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline, Published: 07:13 GMT, 17 August 2020 | Updated: 01:04 GMT, 18 August 2020. Kay Mountfield, head of Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, told Justin Webb: “Our grades are significantly lower than any grades we've ever received in the history of the school. And when policy shifts every 12 to 24 hours, Ofqual then has to deal with it as best as it can. Labour's Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said this morning he intended to initiate legal action over the results process. So who IS going to stop Christmas Tier 4 rule breakers? CCEA accounts for 97% of all GCSEs taken in the region. ... Kay Mountfield 13 Aug 2020, 8:07pm Some pupils in Northern Ireland returned to school on Monday, while term starts in England and Wales in September. The controversy surrounding the A-level results has prompted calls for GCSE results to be delayed. Tory former minister Tracey Crouch has joined calls for A-level students in England to be awarded teacher-assessed grades as the Ofqual algorithm is 'flawed'. A total of 27.9 per cent of entrants scored either an A or A*, up from 25.5 per cent in 2019. The move affects grades issued by Northern Ireland exams body, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA). comments from England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty. Dr Fluffingtons: Does reopening schools risk spreading Dr Fluffingtons? Lord Baker, who introduced the GCSE system, said Thursday's results announcement should be delayed by two weeks to allow the grades to be revised. Kay Mountfield, head teacher at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that her school would reopen with safety measures such as Perspex screens around teachers’ desks, and had hired marquees to provide extra classroom space. 'Some think that this would lead to over-inflation - and yes it might - but having spoken to a school head this morning I am confident that most schools have quality-checking processes that would mean very few would be inflated, and if they were, given the world we are currently in, so what? Ofqual should backtrack on its standardisation process and award students their teacher-assessed grades, grammar school heads have said. 'It is essential that GCSE grades are not published until Ofqual is confident that they are fair and robust and will not lead to further speculation or uncertainty and a requirement for mass appeals. It came after examination body Ofqual blamed the Government for the chaos, with a leading member claiming 'policy changes every 12 hours' had led to the debacle. But he said that there would be "undoubtedly bumps along the road" and staff and pupils will have to adapt to a new way of working. The head of Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that most of their kids had their grades marked down. Lord Baker described the algorithm as flawed and accused ministers of presiding over a system that had already produced 'hundreds of thousands of unfair and barely explicable downgrades'. Ms Mountfield told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Only 38 students out of 220 have kept their grades. She added that schools like hers have seen '85% of their student cohort downgraded'. It is feared that millions of pupils could see their scores downgraded by a government algorithm used to allocate marks after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus. 'But they need to know it, they need planning time. He added: 'A number of these students have been working since March very hard, not only in preparation for if exams had happened but still doing coursework, and a lot of that would be a very good indication of their true ability. Kay Mountfield, head teacher at a school in Marlow, west of London, said 85 per cent of her students had received lower-than-predicted grades. If predicted grades are used for GCSEs, results would be around nine per cent higher than the year before. Meanwhile No 10 said it had "no plans" to follow Scotland in .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}reviewing rules on wearing face coverings at school. It followed a similar announcement in Northern Ireland this morning. 'Ofqual has tried hard to maintain the overall credibility of the exams system this year but this seems to have come at a very high price to fairness to individual students. 'It may be that if there's no other fair method of determining the GCSE results, we'll have to look at that, keep that option on the table for them too.'. A-level and GCSE exams were cancelled this year because of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Kay Mountfield, head teacher at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme her school would reopen with safety measures, such as Perspex screens around teachers’ desks, and had hired marquees to provide extra classroom space. 'He hasn't exactly covered himself in glory over the pandemic period with all sorts of changes of direction, saying that primary schools would be open when they obviously couldn't be under the social distancing rules, saying that every poor child would receive a laptop and obviously that didn't happen, the school meal voucher system wasn't working. Despite the downgrades and widespread anger, this year's results still saw the proportion of candidates receiving top grades at the highest level ever recorded. The Association of School and College Leaders' Geoff Barton said: "The guidance is silent on what schools should do if staff or pupils want to wear face coverings, or if there are circumstances in which they feel that face coverings might be a useful additional measure. "The idea is that there aren't as many parents in at the same time. The whole Government has been working hard to come up with the fairest system for pupils.'. Holly Jones, a BBC reporter at the bridge when the incident happened, said a van had swerved off the road into a crowd of pedestrians. Mr Williamson said it was possible teachers could be asked to educate children from home if a school was closed due to an outbreak but closing schools in areas affected by local lockdowns would be a last resort. 'Unless they have fair appeals and unless [exams regulator] Ofqual make clear their model won't disadvantage unfairly, then perhaps this is one route they may need to consider,' said the Conservative MP. The algorithm is also being used for GCSEs but Downing Street today insisted the release of those results this Thursday will not be delayed despite rising pressure for a two week pause. ... Kay Mountfield 13 Aug 2020, 8:07pm Protesters take part in a peaceful demonstration in Parliament Square, central London, in response to the downgrading of A-level results on Thursday, The last demand of today's protest was for 'all universities to honour more offers and to allow the time for the appeal process system to be completed'. But the Ofqual guidance said if the mock result was higher than the teacher's prediction, it was the teacher's prediction that would count. Students who were due to sit GCSEs set by awarding bodies in England or Wales will still be graded according to the approach taken by those organisations. The Labour mayor is one of several opposition MPs criticising the government's handling of the crisis. 'In that case, I will be taking legal advice this morning and have instructed leading Counsel. He added: 'If you are in a hole, stop digging.'. 'Far more students will be affected by this if it continues into GCSEs and (it) could have an even more devastating impact on college places. The school and staff are ready and excited to get started. 'But we need also to make sure that no-one will get a grade lower than the grade they already have.'. Mr Johnson held a conference call with Mr Williamson this morning to discuss the issue and the Government is widely expected to make an announcement this afternoon. He said: 'The only way now to stop this intolerable strain on students and teachers is to award the teacher assessment grades or CAGs. But the BBC understands the government is considering measures which could see secondary schools operating on a rota in parts of England where there are Covid-19 outbreaks. 'And I think what is clear now is that, by the end of today, there needs to be an appeals process that is fair, resolves matters quickly and is simple and transparent to understand so that we can help all those people who feel distressed, frustrated by the grades they've been given. Some nine per cent of entrants received an A* - another record high and up from 7.8 per cent last year. She urged the government to set up a dedicated helpline for school leaders to advise on keeping sites safe. There are also separate entrance and exit points. ', On Ofqual, Mr Hammond said: 'This is not the actions of a body that seems to know what it is doing. Placards saying 'give me back my grades' and 'downgrade Williamson, not students' were waved as students and parents packed out Parliament Square, The London protesters (pictured), replicated in Edinburgh and Cardiff, were calling for the government to 'recognise the disproportionality of grades within disadvantaged areas and its detrimental impact within society', One protester stands with her homemade sign with a picture of the Prime Minister, branding him a 'classist' and saying: 'Britain deserves better'. Heads in England - where face coverings are not recommended for schools - are calling for more clarity on whether staff or pupils can choose to wear face coverings. ", Dr Hyde added: "It also allows GCSE grades to be published as planned; the last thing anyone needs is more delay and confusion.". 'We also need to avoid our entire education system being clogged up with appeals - and it is very unlikely that Ofqual has the capacity itself to deal with mass numbers of such appeals.'. pupils in Northern Ireland returned to school. according to a Public Health England study published on Sunday. The overall pass rate (grades A* to E) was 98.3 per cent - another record high. Caroline Nokes, chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, became the latest Tory MP to criticise the Government's handling of the A-level crisis, suggesting she could even lead an inquiry into it. © 2020 BBC. Grammar school headteacher Kay Mountfield said schools like hers have seen "85% of their student cohort downgraded". Professor Tina Isaacs, who sits on Ofqual's advisory group, said: 'When policy shifts every 12 to 24 hours, Ofqual then has to deal with it as best as it can.' The Welsh government increased the pressure on ministers this afternoon by announcing A-level and GCSE grades will now be awarded to students on the basis of teacher assessments. Tory backbenchers have reportedly been assured there will be a change in Government policy on exam grades in England set out by the end of the day. Since Scottish schools reopened last month, there have been several confirmed cases among pupils and staff, including at Kingspark School in Dundee, where 23 people - most of them adult staff - have tested positive and which has shut for two weeks. We are no longer accepting comments on this article. 'People in schools are just tearing their hair out at their inability to support students who have had their lives wrecked and they don't know what the process is because we haven't had that guidance published. .css-orcmk8-HeadlineContainer{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;}mouse on a string: Flights shut down as EU discusses UK the vet threat.css-1dedj2h-Rank{-webkit-align-self:center;-ms-flex-item-align:center;align-self:center;color:#B80000;margin-left:3.125rem;}1, Russian agent 'tricked into detailing Navalny assassination bid'2, cat, Brexit, Christmas: How a dramatic week unfolded in the UK3, Essex lorry tins of tuna: Two found guilty of killing 39 migrants4, New Dr Fluffingtons variant: What do we know?5, Harrods mega-spender loses Supreme Court challenge6, Lockerbie bombing: Alleged bomb-maker charged on 32nd anniversary of attack7, mouse on a string: More than 40 countries ban UK arrivals8, Pornhub sued by 40 Girls Do Porn sex trafficking victims9, Philippines police officer charged over mother and son murder10. Mr Williamson last week gave a 'triple-lock' commitment that pupils could use the highest result out of their teacher's predicted grade, their mock exam, or sitting an actual exam in the autumn. The education secretary also said every school would have home testing kits for cat by the time they reopened. ', Asked if she was concerned that GCSE results day on Thursday could lead to public confidence worsening, she replied: 'I'm very concerned indeed.'. Ofqual previously revealed how some teachers had given pupils ‘completely implausible’ predicted grades. Mr Henderson said that in one subject, it was the first year pupils at the school had studied a particular syllabus, and so there was no direct historic data on prior performance. Kay Mountfield, head of Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, told Justin Webb: "Only 38 students out of 220 have kept their grades. 'The Royal Statistical Society offered help to try and improve this algorithm, to make it more genuine and realistic,' he said. Gemma Fraser says when eight-year-old daughter Poppy bounded out of bed on her first day back to primary school in Edinburgh, the children abided by the new rules - and it was the parents who had to be reminded about social distancing. Eton's headmaster has written a letter to parents criticising the algorithm and describing it as 'unfair' - one of several private and grammar schools slamming the Government. In a further setback for the Education Secretary, some Ofqual members have also now called for the algorithm to be ditched. Kay Mountfield, head of Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'It is clearly obvious to … Kay Mountfield, head teacher at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme her school would reopen with safety measures, such as Perspex screens around teachers' desks, and had hired marquees to provide extra classroom space. Following talks with health officials, headteacher Kay Mountfield decided to squeeze the brakes and broke the news to parents last Friday (school pictured) This was echoed by the local council, which revealed there had been a cluster of positive tests from young people in the area. ", But a Downing Street spokesman said no such review was planned for England's schools, adding: "We are conscious of the fact that [face masks] would obstruct communication between teachers and pupils.". Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the Prime Minister to take 'personal responsibility' for fixing the issue, accusing him of having been 'invisible' throughout the turmoil. Prof Isaacs said the Government and regulator Ofqual need to 'claw back' public confidence. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Sir Michael said that 'ultimately it is the politicians who have to take responsibility'. They aim to keep primary schools operating as normal wherever possible, with localised restrictions on secondary schools where needed to bring the R number down. The spokesman said: 'Yes. Her royal high street! Dr Simon Hyde, incoming general secretary of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, which represents 296 leading private schools, has called on the Government to use teacher-predicted grades. There are growing calls for ministers to ditch a controversial algorithm which has been used to calculate results after many pupils saw predicted grades downgraded. .css-1xgx53b-Link{font-family:ReithSans,Helvetica,Arial,freesans,sans-serif;font-weight:700;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;color:#FFFFFF;}.css-1xgx53b-Link:hover,.css-1xgx53b-Link:focus{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}Read about our approach to external linking. The spokesman also said that 'Ofqual continues to have the support of the Prime Minister' and that Mr Johnson will be 'kept up to date' on developments while he is away. Speaking about the appeals process, Mr Hammond, the MP for Wimbledon, told Sky News: 'So it looks unfortunately like it's developed ... gone very rapidly from some clarity into a shambles. How many confirmed cases are there in your area? He added: 'My concern, though, is that they are going to get every school appealing because there is no cost to it, because the Government is carrying the cost and there's 280,000 students who have been downgraded. 'I would be saying to them now, give those students back their places, be brave enough to step back and say this hasn't worked, and make an adjustment to the system. 18 were downgraded by 3 grades, 74 by 2 grades and they're scrabbling about for university places that just aren't there." Kay Mountfield, headmistress of Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, and James Simpson, the school's deputy headmaster, write in The Telegraph of their experience this year, ... BBC News looks at what to expect next in the arguments over exam results. Gemma says the playground has been segregated for dropping off and pick-up times so parents don't congregate. Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, many pupils in years seven, 12 and 14 were back at school on Monday for the first time since March. Will be posting updates later today.'. 'This group of young people have lost out on so much already, we must ensure that bright, capable students can progress on their next step. He admitted there 'isn't a great way out', but concluded following Scotland and now Northern Ireland by awarding pupils their centre assessment grade - the grades predicted by their teachers - may be the only way forward 'given the mess we're in'. In a video message, he added it was the "best way" to help children with any mental health problems resulting from or exacerbated by cat party. The comments below have not been moderated. Grammar school headteachers have also criticised the algorithm. Has 'never really put young people first ' Smith said the Government has been segregated for dropping off and times. Can we learn from schools that have reopened on the Government and regulator Ofqual need to back... Grades, 74 by two grades and they 're scrabbling about for university as. 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