Deputy mayor's 'relief' grades will be awarded by teachers, not algorithms

Schools could reopen at the beginning of June. Picture: CORBIS

GCSE, A Level and vocational students will receive grades awarded and determined by teachers this year, rather than through exams or an algorithm - Credit: � Royalty-Free/CORBIS

Hackney's deputy mayor has welcomed the news that pupils studying GCSE, A Level and vocational qualifications will receive grades awarded and determined by teachers. 

On February 25, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced teachers will be drawing on a range of evidence to determine grades, such as mock exams, coursework and questions provided by exam boards. 

This follows the A-level grading scandal last August, which saw an algorithm downgrade nearly 40 per cent of marks before the government U-turned.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, deputy mayor of Hackney, said the announcement was a "relief", adding: "Teachers know their students best and, while normal exams cannot take place, teacher assessments are the most effective way to avoid the stress and inequality caused by the government’s shambolic handling of assessments last year."

Teachers will submit the grades to exam boards by June, which the government says will allow for as much teaching time as possible before assessments need to be made.  

Results day for GCSE, A Level and some vocational qualifications is set to take place in the week of August 9 - this is earlier than usual to allow additional time for appeals. 

Cllr Bramble was also pleased to hear that the Department for Education is working on a long-term plan to help students catch-up on school work, but said "it needs to recognise the real disadvantage faced by students from poorer backgrounds during the last year" and ensure schools are given autonomy and funding. 

Pupils studying for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) will also receive grades set by teachers, but exams and assessments will continue for VTQs where necessary. 

Hackney's deputy Mayor with Hackney students at school.

Cllr Bramble with students from Our Lady's Catholic School in Stamford Hill In October, 2020. (From left) Pictured are Nabeela Mulla, Bezawit Solomon, Weronika Wojciechowska and Enebo. Picture: Corrina Antrobus - Credit: Corrina Antrobus - Credit: Corrina Antrobus

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Multiple checks will be conducted by schools, colleges and exam boards to ensure fairness and every student will have the right to appeal their grade. 

The proposals follow Ofqual’s largest ever consultation, which included thousands of responses from pupils.  

Mr Williamson said: "Young people have shown incredible resilience over the last year, continuing with their learning amidst unprecedented challenges while the country battles with this pandemic. Those efforts deserve to be fairly rewarded.

"That’s why we are providing the fairest possible system for those pupils, asking those who know them best – their teachers."

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