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GCSE results latest news: Grades out TODAY as BTEC scores recalled day before release and A Level chaos continues

Millions of nervous youngsters are finding out today how they fared in their GCSEs this year.

Students have been told their results will come on time, despite fears that the chaos caused by a recent u-turn will cause delays.

Earlier this week, the Government rowed back on its decision to generate grades by computers, instead grading youngsters through teachers’ predicted

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson reportedly offered to resign following the fallout over the results day fiasco, but the Prime Minister is believed to have refused it.

It comes amid warnings from experts that poorer children are nearly twice as likely to fail English and maths GCSEs than more wealthy classmates.

Follow our GCSE and A-level live blog for all the latest news and updates…

HIGH FLYERS

Nearly one in three pupils could get top marks today after the government’s exam U-turn fiasco.

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.

‘FULL CONFIDENCE’

The Government has given its backing to England’s exams regulator Ofqual despite the A-level and GCSE grades chaos.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had suggested that Ofqual “didn’t deliver” the system that the Government had been “reassured” would be in place following the U-turn on grades.

During a series of interviews, the minister had not categorically confirmed whether he retained confidence in the watchdog.

On Wednesday, the Department of Education said it had “full confidence” in the regulator and its leadership following the controversy.

The Department for Education said: “As the Government has made clear, we have full confidence in Ofqual and its leadership in their role as independent regulator and we continue to work closely with Ofqual to deliver fair results for our young people at this unprecedented time.”

RESULTS CHAOS

Nearly half a million pupils face further exam chaos today after a last minute decision to withhold their exam results.

At the 11th hour, the exam board Pearson ordered schools not to publish BTEC results after saying they needed more time to recalculate grades.

Pearson now plans to regrade the BTECs awarded last week as well as marks due to be published today.

It comes after exams regulator Ofqual revealing its moderation algorithm used on A-levels and GCSE’s was not used on vocational qualifications – including BTECs.

WILLIAMSON WAS ‘WARNED A-LEVEL AND GCSE GRADES COULD BE WRONG’ WEEKS AGO

Embattled Education secretary Gavin Williamson was warned that A-level and GCSE grades could be wrong weeks before the results fiasco, it has been reported.

The political dark arts master has defied calls to resign over the results debacle and is now said to be ‘on his last life’ – and could be swiftly sacked if schools reopening is botched.

Read our full report here.

THERE WOULD BE ‘NO PROBLEMS ON RESULTS DAY,’ SAID OFQUAL

The education secretary chose to push ahead with exam plans despite being warned – fearing accusations of grade inflation or a delay to exam results.

A government source told the Times that Gavin Williamson had raised the problems expressed by Sir Jon to Ofqual days after the meeting, but the regulator had given him reassurances there would be no problems come Results Day.

The report contradicts Mr Williamson’s claim that the scale of the problem related to Ofqual’s algorithms only became clear over the weekend. 

TEENS COULD SIGN UP FOR COURSE ‘TOO HARD FOR THEM’

David Laws, boss of the Education Policy Institute, warned the inflated grades may cause some kids to sign up to nerdy courses 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.”

COLLEGES MIGHT NOT HAVE ENOUGH SPACE FOR STUDENTS

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.

GCSE RESULTS 2020: NUMBER OF PASS MARKS SET TO RISE

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.

STUDENTS WON’T FIND OUT THEIR ALGORITHM GRADES

Ofqual will not tell pupils the calculated grade they were set to get before the government’s U-turn.

The regulator told Schools Week this is because the calculated grades are now “no longer relevant”.

“To avoid confusion and to remove any further distress for students, we are not publishing the national calculated grades,” a spokesperson added.

WILLIAMSON WAS WARNED ABOUT RISK OF EXAM FIASCO

Gavin Williamson was warned directly that the A-Level and GCSE grading system could lead to hundreds of thousands of students being given the wrong results, but he decided to push ahead, The Times has reported.

Sir Jon Coles, a former director-general at the Department for Education, told Williamson six weeks ago that the grading system would only be 75 per cent accurate.

GCSE RESULTS 2020: SET TO BE ‘RECORD BREAKING’

Teenagers are set to get record-breaking GCSEs tomorrow after the botched marking system was torn up.

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

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.

Read the full report here.

‘YEAR 10 MUSTN’T PAY THE PRICE FOR YEAR 11’S GOOD GRADES’

As the GCSE cohort is expected to receive grades based on their hard work across two years, given to them by their teachers who know them best, many are questioning what this will mean for pupils finishing their qualifications next summer.

Year 10s will be competing with their immediate predecessors’ supposed good grades – which may lead to an insurmountable challenge to perform academically next year, writes Andy Taylor in TES.

EXAMS WEREN’T DISCUSSED AT DEPT OF EDUCATION’S BOARD MEETING

Exams weren’t on the agenda – and were not even mentioned – in the Department for Education’s most recent board meeting minutes from June.

Despite the uproar over the grading system for A-Levels, GCSES and BTECS, exams were not discussed during the meeting at all, Schools Week reports.

BTEC GRADING BLUNDER: FULL REPORT

BTEC grades have been pulled just HOURS before Results Day – with 450,000 pupils now set to receive remarked grades.

Read our full report here.

‘NO LEARNER’S RESULTS WILL GO DOWN IN REGRADING’

The Department for Education confirmed that “no learner’s result will go down as a consequence of regrading,” as OCR and Pearson, the boards in charge of vocational and technical qualifications, delay results for teens who were expecting grades TOMORROW morning.

This is just another U-turn in the exam fiasco this year.

BTEC GRADES ‘NEED MORE TIME’

The Department for Education has said that vocational and technical qualifications need more time to get their grading accurate amidst the exam chaos.

It continued: “OCR have said that their Cambridge National results will issue next week.

“Pearson, which initially did not think there would need to be significant changes made, has now decided to revise its arrangements to ensure that students’ qualification-level results better reflect the unit-level results that students have already secured through internally-assessed units.

“For all awarding organisations, both their original approaches and their revised approach are in line with Ofqual’s VTQ regulatory framework.

“Everyone is working as quickly as possible to confirm results as soon as possible, recognising the impact that delays are having on schools, colleges and students.”

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S STATEMENT ON BTEC REGRADING

The Department of Education have issued a statement regarding grading vocational and technical qualifications this summer.

It said: “Monday’s decision to move away from the algorithmic approach used for GCSEs and A levels has led to those few awarding organisations that used similar approaches to reconsider their awarding decisions and place greater weight on the most trusted evidence available.

“Those that used qualification-level centre assessment grades will be able to recalculate results and issue them on time.”

However, BTEC and vocational courses will “need more time”

CALLS TO LIFT CAP ON NUMBER OF MEDICAL STUDENTS IN UK

Top universities have called on the Government for additional funds to take on more students and for the cap on the number of pupils studying medicine to be lifted amid fears ministers face a £140million bailout for lower-tier institutions.  

The number of places at medical schools are capped by the government because of cost – the amount to train doctors exceeds the amount paid by undergraduates in fees – and there are restrictions on NHS work placements. 

PEARSON STATEMENT IN FULL

A spokeswoman for Pearson, which provides BTECs, this evening said: “Following Ofqual’s announcement that A-level and GCSE students are to receive centre-assessed grades, we will be applying the same principles for students receiving BTEC results this summer.

“We will be regrading BTECs to address concerns about unfairness in relation to A-levels and GCSEs and ensure no BTEC student is disadvantaged.”

She added: “We know this could cause additional uncertainty for students and we are sorry about this.

“Our priority is to ensure fair outcomes for BTEC students and we will work around the clock to provide revised grades as soon as we can.”

‘TIMING IS WORRYING’

David Hughes, the Association of Colleges’ chief executive, has said that the organisation asked Pearson to look into results which appeared to be unfair.

But he said the timing of the decision was “worrying”.

He said: “The timing is worrying, because thousands of students were due to get their results in the morning and others have already got results which we know will not go down, but might improve.

“So it is vital for students that this is sorted in days rather than weeks so students have the chance to celebrate and plan their next steps.

“It is a stressful time and this delay will extend the uncertainties.”

PEARSON SAYS THEY ARE ‘CONCERNED ABOUT UNFAIRNESS’

Pearson has released a statement regarding the decision, and acknowledged the uncertainty and disruption caused to students.

They said: “BTec qualification results have been been generally consistent with teacher and learner expectations, but we have become concerned about unfairness in relation to what are now significantly higher outcomes for GCSE and A-levels.”

BREAKING: BTEC RESULTS PULLED

Exam board Pearson has pulled its BTEC results – just a day before they were supposed to be released.

Fresh exam chaos has been sparked by the 11th hour move, with Pearson now confirming all BTECs would be regraded to bring them in line with A-levels and GCSEs – which are being graded using school-based assessments.

The last minute move affects some 575,00 students, around 250,000 of which received grades last week.

UNIS COULD FACE ‘FINANCIALLY CRIPPLING’ LOSSES

Ministers are facing increasing pressure to help universities amid warnings that this week’s A-Levels U-turn could leave many institutions facing “financially crippling” losses.

Thousands of students have been left scrambling for places on highly sought after courses after their grades were raised following a climbdown over the controversial moderation system used to decide this year’s results.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank has warned that while leading universities would now be “awash” with students, many lower-ranked institutions risked losing a substantial share of their intake.

DURHAM UNI OFFERS CASH TO PUPILS WHO DEFER

Durham University has become the first in the UK to offer CASH to students to defer their studies by a year following the A-level fiasco. 

It comes as the government’s U-turn on exam results has sparked fresh chaos for many universities struggling to cope with an unforeseen surge in admissions.

Read the full report here.

THERE SHOULD BE ‘NO SUDDEN DROPS’ IN GCSE RESULTS TOMORROW

Laura McInerney, former editor of Schools Week, has said there should be “no sudden drops” in GCSE results tomorrow – as the Government’s approach seems to be “get whichever is higher: centre-assessed grades OR calculated grade.”

GCSE students will be receiving their grades tomorrow morning, amid a week of exams chaos.

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