Posted: Fri 14th Aug 2020

Updated: Sat 15th Aug

Headteachers across region ‘disappointed, confused and concerned’ over A-Level downgrading

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Headteachers from across Flintshire and the wider North Wales region have been left disappointed, confused and concerned after A-level results were downgraded.

The Federation of North Wales Secondary Teachers has said the “results have challenged our confidence in the system” after 42% of A-level grades in Wales were downgraded by exam officials.

Learners across the region have received their grades on Thursday after their education was disrupted as schools were shut and exams cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a late announcement on Wednesday, the Welsh Government’s education minister revealed no students would be marked lower than their AS-level results.


It followed concerns being raised after Qualifications Wales said final grades were likely to be lower than those estimated by teachers, which the exams watchdog said were “too generous”.

The Federation of North Wales Secondary Teachers issued a statement today it said “we cannot over-state how disappointed, confused and concerned we are about the A-level and AS results our young adults received on Thursday.  

Although the headline data for Wales shows slight improvement, this is not a full reflection of the reality in schools.

There are huge disparities in the outcomes of individuals which we cannot track, justify or explain.

Pupils’ grades have moved up and down in ways we do not understand.”  

The Federation said that as schools, “we were asked to consider all our internal and external testing data to create rank orders of learners’ centre assessed grades.

We did this with professionalism and fairness to the students we have supported for the last 7 years.

This data in many areas has been dismissed, devalued and discounted. Our rank orders have been overlooked and students moved within them making the allocation of grade impossible to fathom and unfair.”

Many universities have downgraded their offers with the absence of international students, resulting in more available places, so many of the young adults involved will be able to attend the university of their choice. 

The Federation said that is not enough, “our pupils’ grades will be with them for the rest of their lives, they will be on their CV for ever. COVID-19 has already disadvantaged them, but life after COVID, within a recession-hit country, means their outcomes will be even more important than ever as they enter a challenging job market.

Our students have worked for these grades and deserve them; an algorithm that dismisses this is immoral. If there was ever a time for trust it was now.” 

“As professionals, we were promised that any anomalies in school data would be discussed, to allow schools to provide the evidence to justify the centre assessed grades. This had not happened – we have been given no opportunity to provide evidence and no conversations have taken place.

This has been a statistical model, over reliant on AS outcomes and historical data, and dismissive of the opinion of a profession who supported their students over many years. ” The statement goes on to say.

“The A-level results day is usually one of the happiest of the year. This year our children were hurt, confused and left wondering what had gone wrong, just as we are. 

This week’s results have challenged our confidence in the system and call into question the structure we have previously trusted; however, our fears for next week’s GCSE results are beyond words.

We would request that changes be made now to protect the life chances and wellbeing of our children and avoid the confusion and heartache our A-level students have had to face.” The Federation added.



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