Posted: Mon 24th Aug 2020

Public inquiry needed into exam result downgrading in Wales to ‘learn lessons’ for future, says North Wales MS

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Aug 24th, 2020

A North Wales MS has called for a public inquiry into Welsh Government’s handling of the grading of school and college results.

Almost half of Wales’ A-level students’ marks were initially downgraded because of the system used to calculate results.

The Welsh Government announced earlier this week that grades predicted by teachers would now be used rather than those produced by an algorithm following widespread outrage.

Meanwhile, on the eve of GCSE results, it was announced that BTEC results issued by the Pearson exam board would be held back for regrading.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams confirmed she would be making a further statement on an “independent review” of events following the cancellation of this year’s exams in due course.

Arfon MS Sian Gwenllian said that only a public inquiry would ensure proper transparency for the young people affected and their teachers and parents, emphasising that an independent review would not succeed in “building back public confidence” in the system as the Education Minister has suggested.

The Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister said that lessons need to be learnt for the sake of all future pupils and to maintain credibility in the government, future governments and the organisations involved in the exam fiasco.

Ms Gwenllian said: “I am calling for an urgent and full public inquiry into the handling of this year’s exam debacle.

“If the Welsh Government is serious about ‘building back public confidence’ the Education Minister should initiate a public inquiry looking into what went wrong – in order to pave the way for future change.

“The current Welsh Government and future governments must be able to learn lessons from the recent mishandling of qualifications grading and exam results.

“Some of the problems started to come to light during Tuesday’s Senedd Committee meeting.

“But we only touched the surface very lightly. I’m concerned that the Minister’s ‘review’ won’t achieve the level of public scrutiny that’s needed.

“This catalogue of blunders affected and is still affecting thousands of young people in Wales. The level of anxiety that was created must not be underestimated and only a public inquiry will suffice.

“A public inquiry would help illuminate any systemic failures that need rectifying in a robust and transparent way, indicating that the Government is seriously committed to learning the lessons.

“In the meantime, the Minister must work with the profession to ensure a fair system for 2021.”

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