Victory for school pupils as Tories give up attempt to downgrade them for not being rich

Gavin Williamson: he had to find an excuse to backtrack.

Tory Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has given up his bid to use the Covid-19 lockdown as a weapon against school pupils.

After a wave of protest swept the UK over his use of an algorithm that automatically gave pupils at private schools higher grades than those at state schools – and in fact downgraded state school pupils’ grades based on the performance of previous exam candidates from their school who were nothing to do with them, it seems clear that Williamson has been looking for a way it.

He found it today (August 17). Consider this, from the BBC’s article: “He added the government decided to change policy – bringing England in line with the other UK nations – after it saw a number of outliers that did not ‘make sense’ when Ofqual released additional data about its algorithm at the weekend.”

It’s a rather obvious excuse.

In reality, I think we all know that the Tories – who currently rely heavily on public opinion to form their policies – had realised that they had gone too far with what seemed a clear example of class war.

The attack on ‘A’ level students’ grades would have affected their entire future lives and careers – and although the electorate is generally thought to have a short memory, nobody is likely to forget that kind of betrayal in a hurry.

Here’s the evidence:

The weekend saw a wave of protest:

… including ill-feeling towards the children of richer parents who benefited from the algorithm the Tories used to pretend they had fared better than their poorer counterparts:

But the last straw was probably the decision by the Labour-run Welsh government to follow its Scottish counterpart and ignore the prejudiced Tory algorithm in favour of teachers’ assessments.

It meant the general public would consider the devolved governments – run by political parties other than the Tories – to be on their side, while the Tories were trying to harm them.

So we get this decision to give up and let both ‘A’ level and GCSE pupils have the grades they deserve, and a claim that it is because the government found a fault in its algorithm – which is easy to make as we all know prejudice was written into it.

But I don’t think it will save them at election time, once these pupils are old enough to vote.

They know what the Tories were doing – what Gavin Williamson wanted to do.

He wanted to steal their futures and hand them to people who don’t deserve them.

And I think they’ll remember that.

Note: Say what he likes, Keir Starmer had nothing to do with the government’s u-turn.

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7 thoughts on “Victory for school pupils as Tories give up attempt to downgrade them for not being rich

  1. SteveH

    “Note: Say what he likes, Keir Starmer had nothing to do with the government’s u-turn.

    That seems more than a little unfair, Keir Starmer has very clearly credited the efforts of young people

    Keir Starmer – Twiiter
    @Keir_Starmer
    The Government has had months to sort out exams and has now been forced into a screeching U-turn after days of confusion.
    This is a victory for the thousands of young people who have powerfully made their voices heard this past week.
    However, the Tories’ handling of this situation has been a
    complete fiasco.
    Incompetence has become this Government’s watchword, whether that is on schools, testing or care homes.
    Boris Johnson’s failure to lead is holding Britain back.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You may wish to modify your opinions, based on the Labour Party’s more recent behaviour. See the Skwawkbox article on it.

      1. SteveH

        Just to clarify I didn’t intend to refer to the whole article, the rest of your article is actually quite good but it is disappointing that you chose to detract from it with your concluding comment about Starmer.

  2. Lynn Dye

    Some of the students have already lost the places in the universities they wanted, according to last night’s news. So their futures could be harmed regardless of the u-turn. What a travesty, but what else can we expect from the Tories?

Comments are closed.