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calls for mitigation measures to remain come on day 2022 grades show downturn in step with official policy

students queue to get hold of their GCSE effects at Longdendale high school in Hyde, more Manchester. picture: Anthony Devlin/Getty pics

Sally Weale, Richard Adams, Pamela Duncan Ashley Kirk and Carmen Aguilar García

Headteachers in England are calling on ministers to put off the go back of pre-pandemic examination situations for any other 12 months, after GCSE effects confirmed a worrying gap in attainment between pupils in the north and south.

on the day that approximately six hundred,000 pupils in England in yr eleven obtained their GCSE effects, the association of school and college Leaders (ASCL) said scholars due to face checks subsequent summer have to have the equal extra support as this year’s cohort due to the fact they too have been deprived via Covid.

The authorities had was hoping that exam conditions and grades could return to pre-pandemic tiers next 12 months after a sluggish glide returned to normality, however with the hazard of similarly waves of contamination over the wintry weather extra disruption could lie ahead.

Thursday’s consequences, presented to the first cohort to sit summer season examinations in 3 years, revealed big local versions across England, with London particularly increasing its lead in pinnacle grades over the rest of the u . s . a .. Figures published through Ofqual showed a sizeable hole of more than 10 percent points among London and the regions with the lowest percentage of top grades.

just 22.four% of grades in Yorkshire and the north-east of britain have been 7 or above, as compared with 32.6% in London. Attendance information display that 12 months eleven scholars in London have ignored much less college during the last two years typical than their peers in other regions, at the same time as scholars in northern regions have tended to miss the most time in faculty.

students sitting GCSEs this summer time were helped via some of variations to their exams – as an example, being given a few choice over content and advance caution of topics. but handiest round a third of the grade inflation that has collected due to the fact that 2019 as a result of teacher assessments has been erased from top grades this year, suggesting a extra painful drop could be required subsequent yr.

Geoff Barton, the ASCL preferred secretary, said: “shifting to this midpoint became completed to offer those pupils extra leeway than immediately returning to the 2019 popular in an effort to mitigate the effect of Covid on their schooling. diversifications have been additionally made to tests for that reason.

“The government and Ofqual will now need to decide whether to place mitigations in place for subsequent year. The sturdy indication we are hearing from college and college leaders is this need to take place because next year’s cohort may have also been closely impacted by means of Covid. that is specially essential given the chance of more waves of infections at some stage in the autumn and winter.”

Thursday’s outcomes display the proportion of pinnacle grades for sixteen-yr-olds in England has fallen considering last year – though they're nonetheless up on pre-pandemic tiers – with the overall pass fee additionally down.

pinnacle grades of 7 and above – equivalent to A and A* – have been down three percentage points this summer time, meaning outcomes are still significantly better than the halfway factor Ofqual became aiming for, as a way to require an even larger fall next year as a way to return to pre-pandemic stages.

in the meantime, the proportion of pupils achieving grade 4 and above – 4 is a skip – also fell with the aid of four percentage points, from 79% closing 12 months to 75%, that means lots more pupils may want to now face resits in English and maths.

students taking an exam in a lecture room

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Ofqual stated on Thursday the expectation become that GCSEs could to return results visible in 2019 subsequent yr, as deliberate.

Richard Garrett, Ofqual’s director of policy and strategic relationships, said the regulator would replicate in this 12 months’s outcomes and confirm preparations for next year. “however i might strain that the declaration that we made final September, set out our expectation over the subsequent years and a clean direction of journey.”

A department for education spokesperson stated: “Our intention is to go back to the carefully designed and well-hooked up pre-pandemic assessment arrangements as quickly as feasible, given they may be the best and fairest way of assessing what students realize and might do.

“running with Ofqual, the tests regulator, we are able to evaluate the delivery of arrangements this year earlier than finalising 2023 plans within the autumn.

colleges North East, which goals to improve outcomes for younger human beings in the north-east of britain, said the north-south hole showed that diversifications made this 12 months had not gone a ways sufficient. The institution’s director, Chris Zarraga, stated the pandemic had exacerbated “critical perennial problems, in particular that of lengthy-term deprivation”, and known as for a assist plan.

requires watchdog to analyze delays to BTec consequences

similarly training and sixth form schools ask why hundreds of students have not acquired grades from examination board Pearson

exam solution sheets in an examination room.

Pearson stated the delays are because of issues with entries not meeting the ‘qualification standards’, making them ‘ineligible’ for grading. image: Chinnapong/Getty snap shots/iStockphoto

examination board Pearson said there have been 5,seven-hundred students who didn’t acquire their grades for degree two BTecs alongside GCSE consequences as scheduled on the morning of 25 August, plunging them into uncertainty over in which they will be analyzing subsequent 12 months. This follows thousands of pupils failing to acquire consequences for their degree three BTecs from Pearson, and Cambridge Technicals from the exam board OCR ultimate week.

Pearson stated the delays had been due to issues with entries now not meeting the “qualification standards”, making them “ineligible” for grading.

David Hughes, the chief govt of the association of colleges, urged Ofqual to launch “a full, thorough and open research into what went wrong to ensure this in no way happens once more”.

Labour has also referred to as for an research, describing the delays as “a debacle”.

Hughes stated: “This cohort of young people has already suffered extreme disruption to their getting to know due to the pandemic. That makes it even more unacceptable that those same students have faced extra pressure with delayed consequences. Pearson and OCR’s systems honestly did not deliver outcomes on time to hundreds of students, and they have badly let them down.”

Hughes brought that it have been tough to talk with Pearson, which has now not been clear about the reasons for the postpone, leaving “university staff to select up the portions with out all of the available facts handy”, although he stated the awarding body became starting to open up.

A spokesperson for Pearson stated that 240,000 students acquired their results for BTecs and associated vocational qualifications on time, and apologised to folks who have been nonetheless waiting.

She said: “As of 10pm the previous day, there are five,700 students registered for the qualification who are presently ineligible to get hold of their grade – that means we want to paintings with colleges and university to clear up queries, run eligibility tests and verify if the pupil nevertheless wishes to claim a grade.”

Pearson said BTecs were modular qualifications based on a combination of inner modules, assessed via schools and colleges, and external tests, which Pearson marks. except it gets grades for all units, it's miles unable to assess the qualification. It stated that adjustments made to account for Covid disruption had “introduced extra complexity” this year.

colleges stated there has been constantly a few human blunders involved in imparting the unit results, however this will no longer normally bring about comparable delays.

John Thornhill, leader executive of LTE institution, which runs numerous colleges in Manchester, tweeted his frustrations with the awarding bodies, caution that he might review the commercial enterprise dating.

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He wrote: “This a 3rd year in a row we’ve had abject dismiss for students, & LTE institution as a customer, while paying them £tens of millions”.

closing week, thousands of college students had been left without their stage three BTec outcomes. even though faculties and universities promised to keep places for those with a suggestion, students who overlooked their grades were behind schedule from getting into clearing, meaning there were fewer places nevertheless to be had.

In an replace to level 3 entrants posted on Wednesday, Pearson said it had despatched an extra 2,450 BTec consequences to the university and college Admissions service to enable college students to claim their locations for similarly have a look at, adding that 900 superb claims remained.

OCR stated that it had “now issued each [Cambridge Technicals] result for students with better education development wishes” and that it was “very sorry for the additional pressure to students over the past week”.

Ofqual did now not verify whether or not it'd release an investigation, however a spokesperson noted that “it's miles important that, as regulator, we review what has came about to make sure that students in future years get hold of effects after they assume them”.