Letter to Education Secretary about exam results

Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP

Secretary of State for Education Department for Education


17 th August 2020

Dear Gavin,

Re: GCSE Results

On Thursday more than 100,000 16-year olds will receive results that could change their lives. Between them they will receive over 4.6 million results, each one the difference between success and failure.

Last week there was a national shame in the A-Level results process, one which has cost many of our constituents places at university, on further education courses and apprenticeships and thrown them into panic and despair. No reasonable person could look at the news last week, our post bags or the individual stories of disappointment and misery and think that this was the best we could have managed as a country.

So, we are writing to you to implore you not to allow a repeat of what has happened and use your power to prevent it.

We call upon you to honour the predicated grades of all GCSE students so that no one is treated as a statistical outcome and instead place trust in the teaching profession and their ability to grade the students they meet on an almost daily basis, more effectively than a line of computer code. Where students are unhappy with what they were predicted the routes of sitting the exams next year would still be open.

While undoubtedly this policy would give a small number a grade they would have failed to secure, it would ensure we do not see a repeat of thousands of good students being penalised for going to schools without a history of excellence. Your own data shows private schools increased the proportion of pupils achieving top grades – A* and A – twice as much as pupils at comprehensives.

Please stand up for an education sector that inspires pupils to better things rather than putting them off learning for life.

Thank you in advance for your response.

(Signed together with 42 other cross-party MPs)

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