Layla Moran

@LaylaMoran writes to @GavinWilliamson to encourage universities to "exercise leniency" for 2020 admissions

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to issue guidance encouraging universities to "exercise leniency" in admitting students with lower-than-predicted grades, in the wake of concerns about how grades will be awarded this year. 

Describing plans to prevent students appealing their grades as "completely unacceptable", Layla Moran, the party's Education spokesperson, has written to the Education Secretary calling for him to ensure: 

  1. Students will have the chance to appeal their grades for free, as well as providing free advice on the appeals process;
  2. Guidance is issued about how students can safely re-take assessments in the Autumn;
  3. Guidance is issued to universities encouraging them to exercise leniency when it comes to admitting students who are awarded lower grades than predicted, especially if they come from a disadvantaged background.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said: 

 "A young person's GCSE and A-level grades will impact their education and job opportunities for years to come. It is disgraceful for any young person to have their grades lowered unfairly.

"Guidance published today which suggests individual students won't be able to appeal their grades directly with Ofqual is a travesty. Government must step in immediately and confirm that pupils will be able to appeal their grades free of charge.

"The Government should also give clear guidance to universities, encouraging them to exercise leniency when it comes to entry requirements, given the chaos cuased by COVID-19. Without this, I am really worried that that inequality in access to higher education will become even more stark as a result of this crisis"

See below for the full text of Layla Moran's letter to the Education Secretary:

Dear Gavin,

I hope this finds you well.

I write following the deeply worrying reports about the SQA downgrading Scottish student’s exam results. I would be grateful if you would set out the measures you will be taking to prevent similar problems for pupils in the rest of the UK.

While the announcement from Ofqual today, that schools can appeal downgrading in certain exceptional circumstances may reassure a limited number of pupils, it does not get to the heart of the matter.  

Individual pupils who think their grade is an unfair reflection of their academic performance must be given every opportunity to appeal this. It is completely unacceptable for any young person to receive unfair grades this year – particularly if this is based on nothing more than their family income, as is thought to have been the case in Scotland.

Ahead of A-Level and GCSE result days I urge you to put in place the following measures:  

  1. Allowing students to appeal their grades for free (as has already been confirmed in Scotland) as well as providing free advice on the appeals process
  2. Putting in place guidance for how students can safely re-take assessments in the Autumn, at no cost to the pupil
  3. Issuing guidance to universities encouraging them to exercise leniency when it comes to admitting students who are awarded lower grades than predicted, especially if they come from a disadvantaged background.

Of course, I hope we will not see a repeat of the distressing reports from Scotland last week, which will have no doubt caused a lot of anxiety to pupils across the country. None the less, we must be prepared for this, given the extremely difficult and unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in.

I look forward to your response.

Layla Moran MP
Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson

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