Herefordshire Council has criticised the government’s A level strategy by saying that is is ‘deeply flawed’ and it was ‘unfair’ to change things at such late notice.

Cllr Felicity Norman, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said:

“We want all children and young people in Herefordshire to have a great start in life and are proud of all the effort, dedication and work they, and their teachers, have put into their education. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed huge challenges before them and the cancellation of examinations this year has caused extra anxiety at an already difficult time.

Whilst many children will be content with the A-level grades they have received and are able to take the next step in their lives as they hoped, others are not so fortunate and it is clear that the system implemented by national government, and changed at short notice, is deeply flawed. Our children should not be treated unfairly because of this.

We are especially concerned that the results appear to disproportionately favour students who studied at private schools, particularly in relation to the very top grades. The disproportionate impact of a deeply flawed algorithm on pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds is unacceptable. We support the calls for the Equalities Commission to undertake a review into the impact of the results on those from more disadvantaged backgrounds.

We know some are finding it difficult to make sense of what has taken place. Your school or college is the first place to get advice and support and they may be dealing with a large number of queries, but we are sure they will offer advice within the national picture that is still evolving. We support all those who appeal against the grades they have been awarded. We call on national government to enable students to appeal directly if they so wish.”

The Ofqual student support phone line 0300 303 3344 is available for students who want to find out more about how they were graded, the autumn exams series and to make an appeal or raise a concern about bias or discrimination. Additional information is available on the Government website including a student guide to post-16 qualification results and a summer 2020 qualification explainer tool.

Save the Student are offering online advice for sixth form and college students on the next steps, if they are unhappy with their A-level results. Visit the YoungMinds website or Text YM to 85258 for mental health support.