Raised to A levels as the government agrees to pay for appeals against degraded results | Political news


Struggling Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has made a double ascent in the A-Levels fiasco that deprived thousands of students of a place at their top university.

In what looks like a major concession to demands from Labor and Conservative backbenchers, Mr Williamson has pledged the government will cover the cost of all appeals against the degraded results.

And he ordered Schools Minister Nick Gibb to set up a task force to oversee the appeal process, working with the exam regulator Ofqual and exam boards and meeting daily.

“Schools will not be at the mercy of appeals,” a government source told Sky News. “We don’t want schools to be turned off if it’s a question of cost. We will cover their costs. “

How the A-level algorithm works

Mr Williamson’s hasty decision to bear the cost of appeals – which in some cases can cost £ 100 or £ 150 per review – follows government demands from Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer to waive the cost of appeals.

But the allies of the besieged Secretary of Education, who has had to deal with calls for the resignation of some MPs, say he is not responding to opposition demands and has always wanted to make the system fairer. .

“It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and something that needed to be fixed,” insisted the government source. “No one ever said this was going to be a perfect system. “

Students fear being seen as “the COVID group”

But Mr Williamson’s apparent downfall comes just hours after a growing Tory rebellion was joined by former Cabinet minister David Davis and several senior MPs and former ministers.

Mr Davis told Sky News: ‘This is a government that I believe has based a lot of its call on social mobility. You keep hearing about the Red Wall sieges, the industrial headquarters of the north of England.

“They will be the ones who, because of the disparity in the system, will be penalized the most, will feel abandoned and will feel the most disappointed because the promise to level up is clearly missed in this particular decision. ”

Level A results

A-Level results: winners and losers

Tory MP Alex Stafford, who captured the Rother Valley Red Wall seat from Labor in the December general election, said he was very concerned about the downgrading of A-level results in schools in his constituency.

“I will contact the education secretary to demand answers and make sure no one is at a disadvantage,” he said.

He was one of dozens of Tory backbenchers who have vowed to take on Mr Williamson on the issue.

Conservative MP Lucy Allan said the Ofqual model was “fundamentally flawed” and led to calls for a nationwide call against the downgrade of A-level results.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the A-level results announced in England as 'robust and reliable'

PM defends level A results as “robust”

And Tim Loughton, Minister for Children under David Cameron, said “the extremely disappointed students” were now in “extremely distressing” circumstances, despite their hard work.

He went on to say: “I pointed out to the ministers that they should review the algorithm for those who missed their place in higher education, and also that the assessment of exams / mocks is the main basis of ‘call. “


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