GCSE results – A THIRD of pupils to get top grades sparking desperate scramble for college places

A THIRD of GCSE pupils are set to get top results today – sparking fears of a desperate scramble for college places.

Teens in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be awarded the higher of either their teacher's estimated grade or a moderated grade this morning, after exams were cancelled this summer.

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A whopping 31.6 per cent of all GCSEs are expected to be at level 7 or above – the equivalent of As and A*s.

This is up from 24.7 per cent of GCSEs last year.

The number of passes at Level 4 – the old Grade C – or higher, is expected to rocket from 72.7 per cent last year, to 82.4 per cent this year.

The figures come from this year's teacher assessed grades, which were slipped in a document by exam bosses Ofqual and buried on their website.

It comes as…

  • GCSE pupils predicted top grades after government ditched computer grading earlier this week
  • Btec grades pulled just hours before results day
  • Schools minister Nick Gibb was unable to say when thousands of kids would get their BTEC results
  • Militant teachers threatened to close schools if the coronavirus cases get too high
  • Gavin Williamson 'was warned' of results fiasco

It follows the government's U-turn decision to ditch A-level and GCSE grades generated by computers after thousands of A-Level results were downgraded last week.

Btec grades were not included in the original U-turn, but on Wednesday they were pulled with just hours to go until results day.

'NOT ENOUGH SPACE'

MPs and teachers have now warned that popular A-level and job courses may be swamped by pupils with boosted grades.

Tory MP Robert Halfon, boss of the education select committee, said colleges fear they will not have enough space.

He said: “They may need extra money so they can expand places and build temporary classrooms.

“Every sinew must be strained so that every youngster can go to the college of their choice.”

Labour peer and ex-Education Secretary David Blunkett called for cash for a “Nightingale-style further education provision,” with colleges taking over offices or public buildings for extra space.

David Laws, boss of the Education Policy Institute, warned the inflated grades may cause some kids to sign up to nerdy which are too hard for them.

The ex-schools minister said: “There is a risk that more students will switch courses or even drop out halfway through the year.

"Schools and colleges will need to cope with this uncertainty and the implications for their budgets.

"The second pressure is whether schools and colleges have the physical capacity to take on an extra group of pupils, while ensuring that they are as safe as possible given the risks related to Covid-19.”

It is still unclear what the appeals process will be for GCSE and A-level students who are unhappy with their results.

EXAM CHAOS

Schools Minister Nick Gibb apologised to GCSE and A-level students this morning for the "pain and the anxiety" they felt prior to this week's exam grading U-turn.

He told BBC Breakfast: "To those hundreds of thousands of young people receiving their GCSE grades and the A level students receiving recalculated grades, I will say this to them, congratulations on what you have achieved.

"But also how sorry I am for the pain, the anxiety and the uncertainty that they will have suffered as a consequence of the grading issues we encountered last week.

"And to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to put these matters right."

The Shadow Secretary of state for Education slammed the government for the fiasco this morning.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Kate Green said: "I think it's utterly outrageous, it's chaos after chaos now. Our young people are psyching themselves up for their results, wanting to plan their futures and the next step in their studies and being let down again and again by the government.

"They are in the middle of an utter fiasco that’s in no way their making."

'GAVIN WAS WARNED'

Meanwhile, it was reported last night that Gavin Williamson was warned of the results fiasco weeks before.

The education secretary has defied calls to resign over the debacle and is now said to be "on his last life" – with a likelihood of being sacked next month.

A senior source at the Department of Education told The Times that Sir Jon Coles, a former director-general at the Department, wrote to Williamson early last month expressing concern about Ofqual’s controversial algorithm.

In the letter, Sir Jon warned that the model being used for GCSE and A-Level grading would at best only be 75 per cent accurate – resulting in hundreds of thousands of students receiving botched grades. 

Ofqual’s own testing of the model found the accuracy of the model to be in the range of 50 to 60 per cent.

According to the Times, Mr Williamson then held a video-conference with Sir Jon to discuss the points raised in the letter in mid-July.

However, the education secretary chose to push ahead with the plans anyway – fearing accusations of grade inflation or a delay to exam results.


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