It is welcome news that the government have now finally agreed to use teacher assessed grades for A Level and GCSE results. This latest screeching U turn is a huge victory for those impressive young people who have been campaigning over the past week. Over the past few days, I have received heartbreaking emails from constituents across Oxford whose university places, apprenticeships, jobs and future paths were uncertain. The government’s handling of A Level results this year has been shambolic.
I, alongside my colleagues, called on the government to rethink their current strategy, and to take responsibility for impact that their inaction is having on a generation of young people. The government had months after the cancellation of exams to sort out a fair settlement for our young people. Instead, the government’s initial eleventh hour announcement of the triple lock was chaotic, and what has followed has not clarified matters. The government only conceded that the appeals process should be free following Labour’s calls.
As I write this on Monday, it has been four days since this fiasco came to light and the Prime Minister is still nowhere to be seen. This failure to lead has become a concerning pattern recently, and it is crucial that Boris Johnson urgently gets a grip to avoid another disaster like this one, in this case, with young people paying the price. This is the latest in a long string of fiascos – care homes, testing, schools – each marked by the government doing too little, too late. In this case, delays in the system only worsened the situation for young people, who face more uncertainty in current circumstances.
Students face further disadvantage still by being out of school for nearly 6 months now. This gap in schooling will disproportionately affect those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and it is imperative for the wellbeing and future of this next generation that we can get pupils back into the classroom safely – as well as for forgotten families struggling with childcare and work. I am concerned that the government’s incompetence when it comes to results will be reflected in their attempts to get pupils back into the classroom in September. We can’t afford for schools to be the new government incompetency.
Labour have offered their constructive support on this time and time again – but the government ignored our offers. They must urgently take action to ensure that children are not robbed of their future, and the Prime Minister must take personal responsibility to ensure that this exams fiasco is properly addressed, and pupils are back in classrooms safely come September. Boris Johnson’s failure to lead is holding Britain, and our young people, back.