I have almost no words for the Tories’ appalling treatment of young people across the country who took A-levels, BTECs and GCSEs this year. These students have faced challenges more difficult than any generation since the end of the Second World War, and they have been failed multiple times over by the government.
I wrote to the Schools Minister and to Ofqual multiple times in June and July to query the formula for awarding grades and to raise concerns that it would increase inequality and deliver profoundly unfair outcomes, and I raised this with him in person shortly before the results were released.
But the Tories ignored all warnings and issued algorithm-generated A-level grades. The impact was utterly devastating, as students who had received offers from top universities found their places being withdrawn because their moderated grades were too low. Local students who got in touch with me included a young man whose parents currently work five jobs between them to support their family, who had been offered a place to study law at a Russell Group university; and a young black woman from Brixton who would be the first in her family to go to university with an offer to study medicine. These young people saw their dreams slipping away in an instant.
I spent the weeks following results day working with my small team to fight for justice for these local students and many others, supporting our local schools and writing to many universities on behalf of individual students urging them to honour their offers and accept teacher-assessed grades.
Although the government finally U-turned on their unfair algorithm, some of these same students are now living through intolerable chaos as they start university, many local students have still had to defer their university places until next year and some remain unable to take up places they were offered. There is still a long way to go to undo the damage caused by the Tories’ exam chaos.