Ashfield District Council leader calls on education secretary to guarantee university places for students who make the grade

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Sixth-formers across Ashfield are receiving their A-level results today after an extraordinary year when the Covid-19 pandemic again played havoc with education.

This year's results have again been decided by teachers after the summer's exams were cancelled due to the pandemic.

The Department for Education and England's exams regulator Ofqual has allowed teachers to draw on a ‘range of evidence’ when deciding student’s grades.

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Students with high grades may still not get places at their first-choice university because there’s less capacity in higher-tariff institutions.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield District Council leaderCoun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield District Council leader
Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield District Council leader

Some universities are also planning to keep spaces on hold for students who wish to appeal against their A-level results before the September 7 deadline.

Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), Ashfield District Council leader, has written to the education secretary Gavin Williamson and universities minister Michelle Donelan praising teachers across Ashfield for their handling of the unprecedented situation.

He has also called for a guarantee that students will receive their university offers if they received their expected grades and that any appeal’s system is fit for purpose.

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Coun Zadrozny said, “For the second year in a row, exams were cancelled.

"This has put a heavy burden of responsibility on our teachers and they have coped admirably.

"This has significantly added to teacher’s workloads but I have full confidence in teacher’s judgement.

"Like our students, teachers have had to adapt to the pandemic and they have done our young people proud.

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“Schools and sixth form colleges like Holgate Academy and National Academy (both in Hucknall) have continued to provide a high standard of education.

“If a student from Ashfield has kept up their end of the bargain and earned the required grades, they should be certain there is a university place waiting for them.

"This may be more problematic due to higher than expected grades this year but a promise is a promise.

"I have written to the education secretary asking for this guarantee.”

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Simon Lebus from Ofqual, which oversees exams in England, strongly defended the system for deciding A-level and GCSE results this year.

He said teacher assessments give a ‘much more accurate reflection’ of what students can achieve.

He also said that while pupils can appeal a teacher's judgement, the bar is high.