So it has been a few days since the disastrous UK A level/BTEC results day, and we have some really good news alongside some bad news with the opportunity for that news to get better. As of right now, the situation is far from perfect, but is slowly getting better. To the people that have lost their university places from this, don't lose hope! Pressure is working and the situation is slowly getting better. CAG's are unfortunate for some people (although not lower), but are significantly better for most people.
UK students owe a huge thanks to Curtis Parfitt-Ford again for the work he has done. His dedication to take legal action over this has likely been a crucial part in the decision making causing the government to come to this decision, and he may have just saved a lot of kids their futures. You should go over and drop him a follow!
The good news
GCSE and A level students are now using CAG's (center assessed grades) for their results. This means that in the event of the mysterious algorithm doing downgrades on people, they will now automatically be upgraded to the grade their teacher thinks they deserve. Note that this doesn't fix every issue since teachers might still have a grudge against a student and lower their CAG relating to that, but it is a significantly better system than what was used before, and rather than using the disastrous system they used before, they should have used this to begin with.
For GCSE students, this is hugely helpful. This increases the chance that their results will actually represent them properly since it is based upon the teachers view. This should stop the vast majority of GCSE students being in the same situation as a lot of A level/BTEC students were on results day. Therefore, a lot of students will not have their futures crushed due to something which is not their fault.
For A level students, this goes someway in helping to solve the issues relating to your grades. A level students who were attempting to appeal with the unclear information on how to do so which was previously provided no longer need to do so since this your grades will automatically be upgraded. The UK government has also removed fines for universities going above a student count, so they can welcome students back in. However, this adds uncertainty to the students place if they were denied it and then went into clearing as I discuss below.
The bad news
If you're a BTEC student, there is a lot of uncertainty relating to how you appeal your grades right now. As I touched on during my results day blog, there was a lot of confusion over the work which BTEC students were meant to do. Therefore, a lot of students will want to appeal since they don't feel their grades match what their previous grades were, but it's unclear if they will be able to.
For example, I personally decided I was going to look into an appeal earlier today. I was getting distinctions in every assignment before lockdown happened, so therefore I feel that my grade should actually be higher than D*DD. It's a very first world problem compared to most grades, and it's not the biggest issue ever, but I did spend a lot of time writing assignments for the course. I sent the e-mails off earlier today to try and get information about my CAG's, but I don't actually know if the appeals will work as expected due to them not being mentioned, casting confusion on how BTEC appeals will work if they are at all possible.
If you were offered a university place and then denied it due to your old downgraded grades, you may potentially have an issue getting that place back. Whilst the UK government has removed the student cap, this does still mean that you have to go through Clearing to ask the university for your place back in its current state, and if you lost your accommodation due to this that's another uncertainty you will have to deal with. In my opinion, a possible solution might be to revert UCAS to how it was the day before results day. This will really suck for the students that still need to go through Clearing, however the number of students that actually need to do this should be significantly lower, and people should be more likely to get into their university places.
If you're a new year 13 student, university places will be more competitive due to students from this current year who did not get the grades they needed for their offer initially and have now been denied it. If this is the case for you, you potentially will have a harder time getting into university. I personally think the solution listed above relating to universities might well work here too.
If your CAG's were not representative of you and they were not upgraded, you will need to take an exam to get grades that represent you. This is annoying, but for the most part this should not be the case and there isn't really a good solution for handling this without these grades.
In conclusion, the future of a lot of BTEC students is unknown and this still needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Putting peoples futures in the firing line because they picked a less popular course time is not okay and is something which the government should issue guidance on as soon as possible. However, for GCSE students this step which the government was pretty much forced into making by students will help them secure the grades they need for their further education, and A level students although not completely out the woods yet are in a lot better of a position than they were a few days ago.
We have each other to thank for this victory, and I hope we can work together to force the government to give clarity on BTEC students.