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GCSE results - live: Protesters to call for Gavin Williamson to resign as Scottish Tory leader refuses to back him

Follow the latest updates here live

Kate Ng
Thursday 20 August 2020 14:40
GCSE grades surge after U-turn gives pupils results based on teachers’ estimates

Hundreds of thousands of students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their GCSE results on Thursday morning.

Teenagers across those countries will be awarded their final results, the higher of either their teachers' estimated grade or the moderated grade, after exams were cancelled.

It follows a government U-turn, with the announcement that GCSE and A-level students would be able to receive grades based on assessments by schools or colleges, rather than an algorithm, after thousands of A-level results were downgraded last week.

Meanwhile, Btec pupils will have to wait for their grades amid last-minute changes.

Btec grades were not included in the original government U-turn, but on Wednesday - with just hours to go until results day - Pearson said it would regrade Btecs to "address concerns about unfairness".

The exam board told schools and colleges not to publish level 1 and 2 results in the vocational qualifications on Thursday to give them more time to recalculate the grades.

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent's live blog of GCSE results day, in a year when exam results across age groups have been marred by both the coronavirus pandemic and then repeated U-turns over how the rules will be applied.

Adam Withnall20 August 2020 07:05

Hundreds of thousands of students anticipate GCSE results following major U-turn on grading

Students throughout the country are waiting with baited breath for their GCSE results, after the government made a crashing U-turn on grading due to backlash over A-level results last week.

Exams this year have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, and teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their final results, the higher of either their teachers’ estimated grade or the moderated grade.

But Btec pupils will have to wait longer for their grades amid last-minute changes.

Thousands of A-level results were downgraded last week, leading to uproar by students, parents and teachers. The government later announced in the U-turn that GCSE and A-level students would be able to receive grades based on assessments by teachers, rather than an algorithm that was originally used to moderate grades.

Btec grades were not included in the original U-turn, but exam board Pearson said on Wednesday it would regrade Btecs to “address concerns about unfairness”.

Kate Ng20 August 2020 07:45

Gavin Williamson and Ofqual warned of flaws in grading system weeks ago - reports

The education secretary and exams regulator Ofqual were warned at least a month ago about flaws in the grade moderating system for A-level and GCSE exams.

According to The Times, Gavin Williamson was warned by Sir Jon Coles, a former director-general for schools at the Department for Education, that the algorithm risked giving inaccurate results for hundreds of thousands of students.

The Independent’s Conrad Duncan has the full story:

Kate Ng20 August 2020 07:50

Students may face ‘scramble’ for college places

Better-than-expected GCSE results being released today could lead to a “scramble” for places in oversubscribed sixth-form colleges after the government U-turned on the grading system.

The Sixth Form Colleges Association said there will probably be higher demand from students - the same issue faced by universities who have had to defer places due to the influx of students.

Zoe Tidman reports:

Kate Ng20 August 2020 08:04

Btec students will hopefully receive results next week, says Nick Gibb

The Schools Minister has said he is hopeful that students will get their Btec results next week.

Btec results have been delayed by exams board Pearson, who said it would regrade Btecs to “address concerns about unfairness”.

Nick Gibb told the BBC: “Pearson are working to correct and to review those grades and to reissue them.

“And we're working closely with Ucas and the independent regulator and exam boards to make sure that no young person will be disadvantaged as a consequence of that delay.”

He added: “Having spoken to Pearson and all the exam boards yesterday, I believe that they will be delivered next week.”

Kate Ng20 August 2020 08:15

Gavin Williamson should publish all correspondence on grading system for transparency, says shadow education secretary

Labour's shadow education secretary Kate Green has called for her opposite number to publish all his correspondence about the use of a controversial grading algorithm.

In a statement, she said: “Gavin Williamson was warned again and again about the problems with the grading algorithm, and each time, he did nothing.

"This endless pattern of incompetence is no way to run a country. His failure to listen to warnings and to act on them risked thousands of young people being robbed of their futures.

“It is time for full transparency. The Department for Education must now publish all correspondence to and from the Secretary of State in which concerns about this algorithm were discussed, as a matter of urgency.

“Young people deserve to know how they came to be let down so badly.”

Kate Ng20 August 2020 08:30

Schools Minister Nick Gibb apologises for ‘the pain and the anxiety’ caused by grading system

Schools Minister Nick Gibb has apologised to GCSE and A-level students for pain and anxiety caused by the controversial moderating system that saw thousands of students’ A-level results downgraded.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “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."

Kate Ng20 August 2020 08:45

Students rejoice over GCSE grades

As pupils receive their GCSE results this morning, many have taken to social media to celebrate getting the grades they needed.

Following the government’s embarrassing U-turn earlier this week, the number of students making their grades is expected to be higher than usual.

Kate Ng20 August 2020 09:00

Behind The Headlines: Why does Gavin Williamson still have a job?

Following the backlash over the grading algorithm used for A-level results and the ensuing screeching U-turn the government made, The Independent's Ben Kelly and Jon Stone discuss the controversy and why the Education Secretary is still in his post.

Listen to the podcast below:


Kate Ng20 August 2020 09:15

Scottish Tory leader calls on Gavin Williamson to ‘reflect’ on grading controversy

Douglas Ross, Scottish Tory leader, has refused to back the UK Education Secretary over the exam results backlash.

Mr Ross suggested Gavin Williamson should have taken action quicker after problems with the grading system in Scotland became apparent.

He previously called for Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney to resign after the exams U-turn there.

Ashley Cowburn reports:

Kate Ng20 August 2020 09:30

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