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GCSE and A-level results in England will now be based on teacher predictions

JUST IN.

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Chris McAndrew / Wikimiedia

A-level and GCSE results will now be based on teacher’s grade predictions, after the government received days of criticism of their new algorithm-based approach. 

The results for GCSE pupils will automatically be changed to whichever is higher of the grade their school or college estimated by teachers or the moderated grade. 

Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, has apologised for the ‘distress this has caused’. 

He said: “We worked with Ofqual to construct the fairest possible model, but it is clear that the process of allocating grades has resulted in more significant inconsistencies than can be resolved through an appeals process,” 

“We now believe it is better to offer young people and parents certainty by moving to teacher assessed grades for both A and AS level and GCSE results. I am sorry for the distress this has caused young people and their parents but hope this announcement will now provide the certainty and reassurance they deserve.”

Ofqual, the exam regulatory body, announced the news. Ofqual Chair Roger Taylor said: “It is clear that while it may have technical merits it has not been an acceptable experience for young people and we have therefore decided to change course.

“I would like to say sorry.”

Taylor has also not ruled out resigning over the disaster when asked this afternoon. He said he had ‘full confidence’ in the Chief Executive, Sally Collier.

The news comes after students protested for two days in London due to thousands of down-marked grades from the algorithm providing results.

Ofqual said that 39.1% of teacher’s predictions for pupils in England were lowered by at least one grade.  

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said: “The whole Government continues to work hard to come up with the fairest possible,” adding that Ofqual ‘continues to have the support of the Prime Minister’. 

Pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will get their updated GCSE results on Thursday.

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Disqualified driver busted after turning up to do Asda shop in second-hand ambulance with lights flashing

“The driver has been arrested and is now en-route to custody”

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@gmptraffic / Twitter

A disqualified driver has been busted after they popped to Asda in a second-hand ambulance with the blue lights flashing.

After pulling into Asda with the emergency lights on, the driver was stopped by GMP who discovered they were banned.

Traffic officers up in Harpurhey spotted the driver and their family pop into the supermarket to do their shop.

The incident happened at around 10pm last night, Wednesday January 27th.

Police tracked the group down and discovered that not only was the driver banned from driving, but that they were also wanted by court.

GMP arrested the driver and the ambulance has now been seized.

GMP Traffic tweeted a picture of the ambulance last night, saying: “This Ambulance was reportedly carrying a family when it arrived at Asda Harpurhey with blue lights flashing.

“Occupants promptly went inside to do their shopping. Our divisional colleagues tracked them down & the driver was found to be disqualified & also wanted by the court.”

They added: “XT74 attended and seized the vehicle which is believed to have been purchased second hand. The driver has been arrested and is now en-route to custody.”

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Greater Manchester school to withdraw places for pupils who break lockdown rules

The headteacher has issued a warning letter

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Yew Tree Community School

A school has threatened to withdraw places for pupils who have told teachers they are visiting people from outside their households.

Yew Tree Community School in Oldham has said they will withdraw places for those children in school who have admitted to visiting friends, neighbours and family despite Covid-19 lockdown rules.

Headteacher Martine Buckley said she would take action when ‘parents were putting staff in danger’. 

Currently, schools are open to pupils who are listed as vulnerable or as children of key workers. Families can also form childcare bubbles with another household and children who live between two parents who live separately can move between households.

Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

However, other household mixing is forbidden.

Mrs Buckley began the letter by saying she was ‘upset’ to be writing this but that ‘I feel I must’. 

She continued: “Our lovely children are open and honest and they tell us about their lives and activities.

“A number of them are telling us that they are visiting friends, neighbours and family which is against the law.

“Our teachers and support staff are putting their own safety at risk to look after your children and they should be confident you are doing your bit to follow the lockdown rules.

“I am afraid I will have to withdraw the offer of a place in school to children whose parents are putting us in danger.”

Element 5 Digital / Unsplash

One man told the BBC that his two grandchildren who were at the school have been asked about their activities at home which was ‘out of order’. 

He said: “My granddaughters are pretty intimidated by the tone.

“Asking them questions like that and then the answers off the back of that. They come to a decision of whether they are going to displace them or not.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We expect schools to work with families to ensure all critical worker children are given access to a place if this is required. 

“We encourage all vulnerable children to attend.”

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Keir Starmer calls for all teachers to be vaccinated during the February half-term

Boris has rejected the suggestion.

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UK Parliament & Keir Starmer /Flickr

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer calls for all teachers to be vaccinated in the February half-term.

Responding to the prime minister, Starmer said Boris Johnson should ‘bring forward’ vaccines for teachers and school staff to fulfil the ‘national priority of reopening schools’. 

The Labour leader says he ‘welcomes’ any steps being taken towards reopening schools but is highly critical of the PM’s opening and closing of classrooms.

Starmer describes the government’s U-turns on schools as ‘the kind of nonsense that’s led to the highest death toll in Europe’.

He then repeated his calls to vaccinate teachers during the half-term, explaining that they should be given their first dose once the 14 million people in the top priority groups have had their first jab.

The government is aiming for over-70s, care home residents, frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable to have their first dose of the vaccine by February 15th, the start date for most schools’ half term. 

Starmer asked Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday: “Everybody agrees that reopening our schools should be a national priority. But that requires a plan, and the PM hasn’t got a plan.

“So as a first step, does he agree with me that once the first four categories and the most vulnerable have been vaccinated by mid-February, he should bring forward the vaccination of key workers and use the window of the February half-term to vaccinate all teachers and all school staff?”

Number 10/Flickr

Johnson rejected this, saying only teachers and school staff in the top nine groups will be given priority for the vaccine. 

Starmer criticised the PM saying that half term is a ‘fantastic opportunity’ to vaccinate teachers, but that he is ‘no wiser as to whether the PM thinks that’s a good idea or a bad idea’.

The prime minister insists that schools are not un-safe, explaining that the problem is they ‘bring communities together’ and ‘a large number of kids are a considerable vector of transmission’.

He added that the prioritisation of the vaccine should be up to experts not politicians, and that Starmer’s policy suggestion ‘would actually delay our route out of lockdown’.

Earlier today Boris Johnson confirmed that schools wouldn’t reopen before March 8th at the earliest.

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