North East Herts MP joins Tory revolt over A-Level results scandal

PUBLISHED: 14:27 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:27 17 August 2020

Sir Oliver Heald MP and local councillors have joined the revolt over Ofqual's controversial algorithm. Picture: Supplied

Sir Oliver Heald MP and local councillors have joined the revolt over Ofqual's controversial algorithm. Picture: Supplied

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Conservative MPs and local councillors have joined the backlash against the controversial A-Level results algorithm, which saw thousands of students miss out on university places last week.

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald is pressing the government to scrap the controversial marking system, following “heartfelt pleas” from Hertfordshire’s parents and schools.

Sir Oliver said he has been contacted by many families adversely affected by the Ofqual algorithm – particularly from schools and colleges with large sixth forms.

The algorithm was introduced over fears that teacher assessments would produce grade inflation, but it came to light last week that the system had created an imbalance unfairly skewed towards smaller sixth forms and private schools.

Sir Oliver said: “I feel great sympathy for the students who have been disappointed by their results. Although teachers’ assessments alone can lead to grade inflation, it seems that the Ofqual algorithm is a blunt instrument and has adversely affected schools and colleges with large sixth forms.

“This is why I am pressing the government to urgently make changes to the system and am also advising all students to work with their schools and colleges on appeals where they feel an injustice has been done.

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“This demonstrates the importance of holding public exams and how hard it is to devise a system anywhere near as good.”

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said the fiasco “has thrown our young people’s lives into turmoil” and made a mess of their “educational attainment, aspirations and future.”

She said on social media: “Of course, not everyone gets the results they were hoping for in a normal year, but to be deprived of them by an algorithm is shambolic!”

Meanwhile, Hertfordshire County Council’s Labour group has called on the county council to immediately demand action from government, to restore students’ “faith in themselves and their education”.

Judi Billing, leader of the Labour group, said: “The fiasco we are witnessing is causing untold and unnecessary damage to thousands of Hertfordshire pupils with their hopes for university places dashed and no current prospect of help, restoration of their dreams and the apology they so richly deserve.”

“The county council needs to tell their incompetent friends in government to act today to trust teachers initial assessments based on knowledge, experience and professionalism rather than a flawed and discriminatory algorithm which miraculously supports pupils in private schools – but not the vast majority of Hertfordshire students in their local schools and colleges.”

Hertfordshire County Council has declined to comment on the matter.


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