Politics

Tory MPs urged to help reveal ‘cover-up’ by the Government over A-level fiasco


Tory MPs have been urged to help reveal a ‘cover-up’ by the Government over the A-level exams fiasco.

Labour will urge backbenchers to support a motion on Wednesday calling for all documents on the debacle to be handed over to the education select committee.

They have warned that without complete transparency over what went wrong this summer confidence in the examination system would plummet.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has tried to shift the blame onto officials and the exams regulator for the row which saw the A-level results system thrown into chaos.

But last week it was claimed that he was told of flaws in the grading of exams two weeks before A-level results came out.

A student holds a placard reading “u-turn” in protest

Ofqual, former top officials at the Department for Education and the company behind one of the three big exam boards have all said they issued warnings. 

Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green told the Mirror: “We want to know exactly who knew what and when, what they did about it when they were warned of the difficulties. We want to know what Gavin Williamson knew and what 10 Downing Street knew.

“This isn’t a witch-hunt, we want to be able to ensure that the lessons of this summer’s debacle are learned quickly so we’re not in the same position in future years.

“It can’t be done in a back room somewhere, we need full disclosure and openness so that students, their families and teachers can see what went wrong.

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“If we don’t have that transparency then i think we will have a complete drop in confidence in our examination system which has already been badly dented”.

Many Tory MPs were furious at the Government’s handling of this year’s A-level results and astonished that Mr Williamson was not forced to quit.

Students hold placards as they take part in a protest march from Codsall Community High School to the constituency office of Gavin Williamson

Thousands of students had their results downgraded by an algorithm before they we Government u-turned and accepted their teachers’ grades.

Ms Green added: “I hope we will have the support of MPs of all parties.

“MPs up and down the country have been inundated with complaints from our constituents who were very upset and angry about what has happened.

“And I know that MPs will want to be able to go back to their constituents with assurances these mistakes will not be repeated.”

Tory MP Robert Halfon, chair of the education select committee, said that the exams regulator had already agreed to hand over documents but needed the permission of ministers who were involved in the correspondence.

He told the Mirror: “At our select committee we got agreement from Ofqual to publish the memos and relevant documents as to what went on with the exam controversy,

“They need to provide them to the committee as soon as possible.

“This is because we want to find out what went wrong, learn the lessons and make sure that it will never happen again”.

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In an interview with the Mirror, Ms Green also said that keeping schools open in the event of future lockdowns must be the “top priority” of the Government.

She warned that the “mass migration” of 1 million university students across the country in the weeks ahead was a danger point in keeping the virus under control.

And she called for more financial support for childcare providers struggling as a result of the pandemic, as well as guidance for schools on wraparound care, if ministers were serious about getting people back to work.





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