Best of luck to everyone in Norwich, and across the country, collecting their GCSE results tomorrow! I hope you get the results you want, and which reflect the hard work I know so many of you have put in despite the challenges of this past academic year.
Once again, I want to extend a massive thank you to all the teachers, staff and parents who have gone above and beyond to support students: throughout their school careers, and during this pandemic.
I welcome the news of the Government’s screeching U-turn to give GCSE and A-Level students their centre accessed grades, rather than have them decided by a dodgy algorithm. This is testament to the young people who led on this campaign and made sure their voices could not be ignored.
However, for many students, this is too little and too late. This change doesn’t apply to BTEC students, despite many of them relying on their results to progress in their education or career just as much as A-Level students. Most students who were home-schooled or studied with an external institution haven’t been awarded their grades or qualifications at all. Although the cap on university places has been lifted, there’s uncertainty over what this will mean for many downgraded students who were originally rejected from their preferred choice – nor is it clear what support universities will get from the Government to increase capacity. Many students will still end up having to defer for a year in the midst of a pandemic, which will see the most disadvantaged suffer the most.
These are extraordinary times, but the Government had months to prepare for results day and implement a system that was as fair as possible in the circumstances. It failed on all accounts, and caused an undue amount of stress and anxiety for so many. I will continue to stand up for students who’ve been disadvantaged by this fiasco, and to press the Government for the answers and action needed to sort this mess out.