Deputy Mayor Bramble and Mayor Glanville at BSix College on A-level results day.
Photograph: Hackney Council

Hackney Council has welcomed the government’s U-turn on exam grades, which came just hours after the Town Hall released a letter calling out education secretary Gavin Williamson for “shattering the dreams” of the borough’s children.

The government announced yesterday that it would be allowing GCSE and A-level students to use teacher-awarded grades, after an algorithm used to moderate results marked down 40 per cent of grades across the country, with some losing out on their university choices as a result.

Deputy Mayor Anntoinette Bramble, who leads on education for the Town Hall, had pointing to the disproportionate impact on disadvantaged students in the borough in “stark contrast” to A grades at private schools being up significantly more than state schools or colleges.

Bramble said: “Young people, their families and teachers will be relieved to hear that the government has finally made this u-turn, after a long weekend of uncertainty, when many of them will have been absolutely distraught after their results were unfairly downgraded.

“It’s clear that the algorithm being used discriminated against some of our young people through no fault of their own – this is an outrage, and something the government needs to explain.

“I’m pleased that our GCSE students won’t need to go through the same situation, and I’m looking forward to celebrating some excellent results with our schools and pupils later this week.”

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville joined Bramble in welcoming the U-turn while condemning the “huge uncertainty” the situation has caused for students, some of whom in the borough were faced with the loss of their university places as a result of their downgraded results.

The government agreed yesterday with regulatory body Ofqual to revert to grades predicted by teachers, with the Department for Education announcing that the algorithm used as part of the standardisation process for results had had resulted in a “number of anomalies”, undermining confidence in the system.

Glanville added: “Cllr Bramble and I wrote to the Secretary of State for Education, urging him to make this decision, making it clear that this disastrous approach risked jeopardising future opportunities for hundreds of Hackney students and in many cases disproportionately affected disadvantaged students and punished them for working hard.

“The government should always have trusted the teachers who know their pupils best, and I hope this means that more young people across Hackney can now follow their dreams and plans that were cruelly snatched away last week, and that GCSE students can look forward to collecting their results on Thursday.”

The Mayor added that any young person still concerned or confused about their results after speaking to their school or college can find additional support and information at hackneyworks.hackney.gov.uk.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for young people who were unable to take their exams.

“We worked with Ofqual to construct the fairest possible model, but it is clear that the process of allocating grades has resulted in more inconsistency and unfairness than can be reasonably resolved through an appeals process.

“We now believe it is better to offer young people and parents certainty by moving to teacher assessed grades for both A and AS level and GCSE results.

“I am sorry for the distress this has caused young people and their parents but hope this announcement will now provide the certainty and reassurance they deserve.”

Young Hackney is hosting its annual Summer Careers Festival on Friday 21 August, where young people will be able to access free expert advice and guidance, and speak to professional careers advisers from Prospects. Local colleges and training providers will also be on hand to talk about the opportunities they are offering.

The festival will be a combination of face-to-face and virtual sessions.

For more information, visit younghackney.org/summer-careers-festival

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