Parent calls for university places to be frozen while A-level ‘mess’ is resolved

A parent of a downgraded student has said university places should be frozen until the “mess” surrounding A-level results is resolved.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had made a “triple lock” commitment that students could use the highest result out of their teacher’s predictions, their mock exam or sitting the full exam in the autumn.

On Saturday Ofqual published its criteria for appeals based on mock exams, saying if the result was higher than the teacher’s prediction then the latter would count.

But hours later the regulator said the policy was “being reviewed” by its board and further information would be released “in due course”.

Nicola, from Stoke-on-Trent, who preferred not to share her second name, said her 18-year-old son Leon saw his grades downgraded from a predicted BBB to BCD.

“What really upset me was that yesterday’s announcement withdrew that you could use the best result… that was promised by Gavin Williamson and Boris Johnson,” she told the PA news agency.

“Triple lock means triple lock… there will be uproar if you now go back on your promise.

“The students have been treated abysmally, their mental health will all have been negatively affected.

“The Government need to immediately make sure all clearing places are frozen until the appeals process and review of grades is actioned.

“I would, unfortunately, say any (university) places given since Thursday also need to be frozen until this whole mess is sorted.”

Luke Beagley, from Crawley, missed out on his first-choice university due to downgrading but had hoped his good mock results would mean he could launch a successful appeal.

He had been hoping to study business information systems at Bournemouth, but now says he may not be able to go to university at all this year as the term begins in five weeks.

“When I first heard that mock results could be used it was a bit of hope and it gave me the chance to be able to appeal and get the grade I deserved,” the 18-year-old told PA.

“Then yesterday I checked again and it mentioned that if the grades are higher than your (teacher’s predictions), they will use your (teacher’s predictions), which is really unfair.

“Now they’ve withdrawn that, which is good, however I have little faith in Ofqual and the whole thing has been shambolic and shameful.

“It is horrible being a student in 2020 – you have no motivation and whatever happens these grades will impact you in years to come – even though you deep down know they aren’t your grades.”