Meeting with the Minister for Schools, Imran has demanded that the Government ensure students from deprived backgrounds are not excessively downgraded in this year’s A-level and GCSE results.
The call follows results announced in Scotland last week in which 125,000 results out of a total of over 510,000 were downgraded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Those from deprived and disadvantaged backgrounds were particularly hard hit, with pass rates for pupils from deprived backgrounds reduced by 15%, compared to just 7% for those from more affluent backgrounds.
Due to students being unable to sit exams as a result of Coronavirus, a new system has been devised to award grades, with two teachers and the school’s headteacher confirming calculated grades based on information such as coursework, work at home and in class, and mock exam results. These calculated grades are then passed to exam boards where they are corrected based on the school’s historical performance.
However, in his meeting with the Minister, Imran has claimed that this will, as in Scotland, unfairly penalise those higher achieving students from deprived backgrounds who will be held back not by their performance, but the historic performance of their school, leading to fears that they will miss out on results they would otherwise have achieved through no fault of their own.
According to data from the House of Commons Library, Bradford East already scores lower than the national and regional averages for A-level and GCSE results, with just 10% of pupils achieving top A-levels of AAB compared to a regional average of 17%, and with an average Attainment 8 score at GCSE level of just 41.3, compared to 46.9 in England as a whole.
Imran has, therefore, demanded that the Government take action to ensure that any downgrading of results in this year’s A-levels and GCSEs do not excessively and disproportionately affect those from deprived backgrounds.
Speaking on his fears over this year’s results Imran said:
“Deprivation and poverty already mean that students in Bradford East are sadly held back compared to their regional and national counterparts, and I have real fears that there will be a downgrading of results on Thursday that will exacerbate this divide by failing to reflect the true potential and capability of students.
“It is wrong for a school’s historic performance to count so heavily against the ability of their current students who will have put so much hard work in before their exams were cancelled, creating a regressive situation where students are not judged on their own merit, but on which school they went to.
“We must avoid the fiasco created last week in Scotland and the Government must give a categoric assurance to students and parents that there will be no mass downgrading of results and that any changes that are made to results by exam boards will not disproportionately disadvantage those from deprived backgrounds.”