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Closed petition Ensure fair grading for GCSE and A Level students in 2023

We want the Government to work with Ofqual to ensure that students are graded as generously in 2023 as they were in 2022, to reflect the disruption caused by covid-19 and upcoming strikes.

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Please give our children a chance at success and don’t penalise them for situations beyond their control.

Y11 pupils had their education disrupted during Y8. Y7 was their last full year of teaching on-site. Now in Y11, with examinations imminent, teaching is being curtailed before these pivotal exams.

As well as all the turmoil, bereavements and SEMH issues navigated in light of Covid, I feel it highly unfair that they are expected to perform as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. We now face lost teaching due to strikes and many families are experiencing trials and tribulations due to the mounting Cost of Living crisis.

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Government responded

This response was given on 23 May 2023

Ofqual confirmed this year’s grading approach includes allowance for the impact of disruption, so that a student who would have achieved a particular grade pre-pandemic is just as likely to in 2023.

In September 2021, when students began studying their GCSE and A level course, the independent regulator for qualifications, Ofqual, set out a two-year plan for grading.

Last September, Ofqual confirmed that, as had been announced in 2021, there would be a return to pre-pandemic grading in 2023, with protection in place for GCSEs, AS and A levels against the impact of disruption, including from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year grading will include an allowance for disruption which means that overall results are expected to be similar to those pre-pandemic. The grading protection for GCSE, AS and A level students will see senior examiners making allowances where national performance is found to be a little lower than before the pandemic.

This means that a typical student is just as likely to achieve a particular grade this year as they would have been before the pandemic, even if their performance is a little weaker.

There is no limit or cap on the number of students who can achieve each grade. Students will be awarded a grade that reflects their performance. As always, exams will be marked by independent examiners, using the agreed mark schemes. Grading happens after marking, and grade boundaries are set each year because the question papers change from one year to the next.

The Department has updated its guidance to schools on how to handle strike action in their schools, in order to minimise disruption to children and families. If schools needed to restrict attendance as a last resort, the guidance that schools prioritise vulnerable children, children of critical workers and pupils who are due to take public examinations (like GCSEs and A levels) and other formal assessments. The guidance also encourages schools to consider what action they could take to ensure pupils due to take their GCSEs, A levels or vocational qualifications were supported and prepared for their exams. For example, offering catch-up lessons or arranging additional revision sessions.

Helping children and young people recover from the impact of the pandemic continues to be one of the Government’s main priorities. We have made almost £5 billion available for education recovery and funding in particular helps those that need it most or that have the least time left in education, through supporting the interventions that evidence tells us are the most effective. This includes funding for up to 100 million tutoring hours for 5-19 year olds through the National Tutoring Programme and 16-19 Tuition Fund and direct funding to schools so they can deliver evidence-based interventions based on pupil needs. In addition, from September 2022 all 16-19 students benefit from an additional 40 hours of education across the academic year to help them catch up on the vital teaching they need to progress.

Department for Education