GAVIN WILLIAMSON did not make the decision to scrap the A-level exams algorithm so students’ grades could be boosted, his officials have admitted.
The under-fire education secretary (pictured) faced more calls to quit or be sacked yesterday as he was accused of falsely claiming credit for Monday’s U-turn.
The admission came in a Department for Education statement insisting it retained faith in England’s exams regulator Ofqual, despite pressure on its chief executive Sally Collier and chairman Roger Taylor.
It said: ‘We have full confidence in Ofqual… The decision they took to move from moderated grades to centre-assessed grades was one that we agreed with.’
However, when Mr Williamson announced on Monday that the government was granting all students their original centre-assessed grades, he said: ‘It became apparent to me over the weekend that we needed to do more. I made the recommendation that we needed to move to teacher grades.’
An estimated 270,000 A-level results, or 39 per cent, were downgraded from teachers’ forecasts last Thursday — based on an algorithm. It emerged last night that around 15,000 students rejected by their first-choice university will now meet the offer conditions.
GCSE pupils receive their results today, and have been promised they will be awarded whichever grade is highest — the one recommended by teachers or the one moderated by the algorithm.
Last night, exam board Pearson told schools and colleges not to publish today’s BTEC results so they could be regraded. A spokeswoman said it would ‘address concerns about unfairness in relation to A-levels and GCSEs and ensure no BTEC student is disadvantaged’.
Meanwhile, the National Education Union has written to Mr Williamson, telling him this summer’s debacle ‘must never happen again’. The education secretary has evaded questions about whether he might quit, though unconfirmed reports suggested he offered his resignation to Boris Johnson.
Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Layla Moran said yesterday: ‘If Gavin Williamson has been dishonest as well as incompetent, the PM will have no choice but to accept his resignation.’