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Labour declares results fiasco “far from over” as crisis continues to hit pupils, parents and teachers

@UKLabour has declared the results fiasco “far from over” and set out new demands for the Government to resolve ongoing issues following its major U-turn this week.

On a visit to a school in Ilford, Labour’s Shadow Communities Secretary Steve Reed and Shadow Exchequer Secretary Wes Streeting met with pupils, parents and teachers to discuss the continued chaos caused by the Government’s mishandling of A-Level results.

Branding the fiasco “bigger than the Dominic Cummings scandal”, Reed and Streeting set out new demands of the Government: to give a “cast-iron guarantee” that no student will lose out on their first choice because of government incompetence, and to ensure all students have their final grades by the end of the week.

Many students who now have the grades needed for entry to their first-choice university or college still face confusion and uncertainty over places. Students in Ilford told the Labour MPs that they may have to defer their places to get into their first choice, facing the prospect of a gap year during a jobs crisis.

Labour is demanding the government guarantees students will have access to their first-choice place, so that pupils who lost out due to the algorithm are not left behind again.

The call for all students to receive their final grade by the end of the week comes after it emerged that some A-Level students are still waiting for their correct teacher assessed grades to be issued to them. Meanwhile, students on vocational courses continue to face uncertainty after the government failed to include BTecs in their U-turn on Monday.

Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, Steve Reed, said:

“It was right that the Government U-turned on Monday, but thousands of families are still having to deal with the consequences. The results fiasco is far from over.

“We need a cast iron guarantee from Ministers that no student will lose out on their first choice because of government incompetence. And they must ensure all students have their final grades by the end of the week.

“It beggars belief that students are still in limbo, with no clarity over their futures because of a mess the Government created. Families deserve better than this.”

Labour’s Shadow Exchequer Secretary, Wes Streeting, said:

“Pupils, parents and teachers here in Ilford and across the country continue to face confusion and chaos because of the Government’s incompetence.

“This has been bigger than the Dominic Cummings scandal. My email inbox has been overwhelmed with heart-breaking stories and a deep sense of anger.

“Young people here had their opportunities ripped away by an algorithm that judged them on their postcode, not their potential. They need a guarantee that they will get those opportunities back.”

Many universities are still unable to confirm places for students who missed their first-choice due to the standardisation process, with reports that admissions service Ucas has still not received teacher-predicted grades from exam boards.

Some schools and colleges are yet to receive formal confirmation from the Joint Council for Qualifications that their students grades have been revised following the Government’s U-turn. 

The CEO of the Sutton Trust has called for a “concerted policy effort” to address the ongoing disproportionate impact of the results fiasco and the risk that students miss out on university places despite the Government’s U-turn.

As the controversy around exam results continues, a recent report by strategic insight consultancy Opinium and youth charity @MyLifeMySay also highlights the impact of the Coronavirus on 18-24 year olds.

The Forgotten Generation: British youth perspective of COVID-19” report reveals three-quarters (73%) of 18-24 year olds believe the virus has had the biggest personal impact on their lives, higher than any other age group. Further, over half (57%) are worried about the impact on their mental health. In addition, two thirds (63%) are now worried about their future prospects.

James Endersby, Chief Executive at Opinium, comments:

“Young people have been seriously hard done to by the crisis, and the current fiasco surrounding exam results has caused further anxiety, when they were already concerned about their future prospects. The exam results period is already incredibly stressful for young people, who have felt in limbo for the last few days. 

“It is a promising sign that results will now be based on teacher assessments, but younger generations will likely feel the economic, social and mental impact of the pandemic for many years to come, and will have to help pay for it. We recently called on Boris Johnson and the government to launch an inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on young people and create a taskforce to get their voices heard and support them. We feel they deserve better.”

Mete Coban MBE, Chief Executive at  My Life My Say, adds:

“Young people are already worried about their future amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This on top of the exam results fiasco shows that young people are not only pushed into more uncertainty over their futures, but that they will pay the price for the pandemic, especially as they enter the largest recession of any G7 country. Students have had university offers of a lifetime taken from them, and it has been utterly devastating.”

“Young people deserve better and we have called for an inquiry into how Covid-19 has impacted young people.”

Last month, a cohort of over 100 industry leaders, activists and influencers issued an open letter to Boris Johnson, urging the government to launch an inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on young people. Mete Coban MBE, CEO of youth charity My Life My Say, and James Endersby, CEO of strategic insight consultancy Opinium, wrote to the Prime Minister calling for an inquiry, which they hope will result in the establishment of a youth task force to produce recommendations to support younger generations as they deal with the economic fallout of the crisis.  They also asked the government to commit to responding to the recommendations with policy proposals and a timeline for implementation.

To sign the petition supporting the letter click here. This calls on the Government to:

  • Launch an inquiry into how COVID-19 has impacted young people aged 16 to 25 years old
  • Establish a national youth task force to produce recommendations from the inquiry report
  • Commit to responding to recommendations with policy proposals and a timeline for implementation

Methodolgy: Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ from 22nd to 26th May 2020. Results have been weighted to representative criteria.

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