My thoughts on exam results

As you almost certainly will have heard by now, Ofqual and the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson have apologised for the stress they caused and decided that students will be awarded their centre assessment grade for this summer - that is, the grade their school or college estimated was the grade they would most likely have achieved in their exam - or the moderated grade, whichever is higher. This will apply to both AS and A levels and to GCSE results.

It is sometimes the right thing for Governments to look at policies again and change them where necessary to make things better – I am glad that they did so in this case. Awarding exam results when a global pandemic has stopped exams from taking place was never going to be easy.

What’s more, this is not just an issue restricted to one political party – this change of course has had to be taken not only by a Conservative Education Secretary in England, but by a Labour-Lib Dem government in Wales, an SNP government in Scotland as well as a DUP-Sinn Fein Executive in Northern Ireland.

So this issue has touched all of the main political parties across the United Kingdom. This reflects the fact that governing alongside Covid-19 is actually a rather difficult thing to do.

I am glad that my political party has looked at things again, realised when a mistake has been made and changed course accordingly.

I have spent the last few days reading feedback from students, parents and teachers from across the Forest of Dean and making sure Ministers knew exactly what our thoughts were.

I have also pressed them for clear guidance on the next steps for students, not just in the Forest of Dean - but across the country. I have spoken to the Universities Minister personally about how the Government is going to work with Universities to ensure as many students as possible are able to get their first choice offer if their revised grades now mean they meet the requirements.

I understand how frustrating this experience has been. I went to a state comprehensive and an FE College, neither of which had much of a record for sending students to top universities and, in the extraordinary circumstances this year, it is entirely possible that I might have missed the requirements of my offer from Oxford University.

I am glad that our feedback was listened to and I’ll keep pressing Ministers on my constituents’ behalf to set out their plans for the way ahead.