Exams system will deliver ‘credible, strong results’ for pupils, says Williamson

The exams system will deliver “credible, strong results” for the overwhelming majority of young people, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said.

Speaking ahead of pupils receiving their A-level results on Thursday, Mr Williamson described the exams system as “fair” and “robust”.

It comes as universities and schools across England demand clarity from ministers over how pupils will be able to appeal over the grades they receive.

The Government announced late on Tuesday that A-level and GCSE students will be able to use results in valid mock exams to appeal if they are unhappy with their results.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Williamson said: “The system, for the overwhelming majority of young people, is going to deliver, you know, credible, strong results for every single one of them.

“It’s a robust system, it’s a fair system, it’s making sure that young people get the grades that they’ve worked so hard towards.”

Mr Williamson continued: “What is key is giving young people the opportunity to move on to the next stage of their lives, making sure that they have the opportunity to go on to college, go to university, take an apprenticeship, go into the world of work.”

He added: “We’ve got a system that is, I believe, he fairest that we can do; but let’s not forget that we’ve been in a global pandemic, we’ve been in a situation none of us would have expected to be in.”

The Education Secretary also apologised to children whose learning had been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “I apologise to every single child right across the country for the disruption that they’ve had to suffer.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer earlier said that it was a “blatant injustice” that young people could have their futures decided by their postcode as a result of the exams system.

He said: “Pupils and parents are rightly worried that years of hard work are about to be undone because a computer has decided to mark their child down.

“For too long, the Tories have considered the needs of young people as an afterthought when their needs should have been central.

“It’s a blatant injustice that thousands of hard-working young people risk having their futures decided on the basis of their postcode.”

In Scotland, there had been protests after the exam results of many pupils were downgraded by a controversial moderation process.

On Tuesday, Scotland’s Education Secretary John Swinney announced that downgraded results would revert to the grades estimated by pupils’ teachers.