I WOULD like to congratulate all our young people who received their BTEC, A Level and GCSE grades this week. Many have received brilliant results, but regardless of the individual outcomes, they can all be very proud of their achievements in hugely challenging circumstances.
Pupils have been remarkably resilient given the effect the pandemic has had on their education, especially without sufficient support from the Government. This is the second consecutive year of exam cancellation despite Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s claim several months ago that he was “absolutely certain” exams would take place. Instead, this cohort have received results based on teacher assessment.
This is why results are being published early this year – to allow students to appeal against grades and receive the results of the appeal in time to ensure that they can still start the university course of their choice. Fears are that this appeals process will disproportionately disadvantage children from poorer communities, with fee paying parents and wealthier parents able to apply more pressure on appeal.
Alongside my party, I have therefore been calling for Government to do three things. Firstly, it should provide a ‘next step guarantee’ for pupils to ensure that all young people can move on to the next stage of their lives. Secondly, schools and exam boards need to be equipped to swiftly process appeals so no young person misses out on their place at university, college, in an apprenticeship, or in work, because of a slow appeals system. Finally, additional support should be made available to staff so they are equipped to advise and support pupils through this process.
In other news, Warwickshire County Council announced it will close Marle Hall in October. Marle Hall offers a unique learning opportunity for our children and for many is a valued experience. Campaigning and a petition is being lobbied by teachers, which I support. It is right the public is fully informed about why the decision was made. I will continue to campaign against its closure.
As ever, I can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by ringing my office on 01926 882006.