I'd like to offer my congratulations to all students collecting their results today. It's been a challenging and unusual year but I hope today will be a day to celebrate the work they have put in. I appreciate the challenges around moderated results and I would like to hear from students or schools who feel let down by the systems put in place during the pandemic. This has been an anxious time for many young people and their families. While everyone would have preferred exams and assessments to have gone ahead this summer, cancelling them was the right decision to help tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
I have received a number of emails seeking advice and clarification regarding todays results.
Ofqual has published guidance, including a student guide at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/your-results-what-next, which outlines how this year's process works and what students’ next steps might be, including what to do if they are unhappy with their results.
Ofqual has said it is committed to doing all it can to make sure students are not disadvantaged by these unprecedented circumstances, including allowing for an appeal where appropriate. While the vast majority of grades awarded will be accurate, it is essential that there is a robust appeals process in place. Students will be able to appeal – through their school or college – if they believe the process this summer was not followed correctly in their case; and centres themselves can appeal if they believe something has gone wrong in processing their results. Ofqual has confirmed that schools can appeal if they can show evidence grades are lower than expected because previous cohorts are not sufficiently representative of this year’s students. In addition, following the Education Secretary's announcement of the triple lock to provide additional assurance for students, evidence from valid mock exams can be considered as part of an appeal. Moreover, any student who would like to improve their grade in a subject will have an opportunity to take exams in the autumn.
Students who have sadly missed the grades for their university offer are also advised to contact their university directly. Universities have committed to be flexible and most are considering a wide variety of factors in addition to the grades awarded. Furthermore, the National Careers Service will operate an exam results helpline to ensure that young people receiving their GCSE and A Level results this summer can get advice from qualified advisers.
I am happy to report, despite the unprecedented circumstances that grades have remained broadly stable with a 2.5% point rise in As and A*s at A level. A record number of 18 year olds have been accepted into university. A record number from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in England have been accepted into university – up 7.3% from last year.
Once again, well done to all students. Please do get in touch if I can help with further advice, or ask questions of government on your behalf.