BTec student and course leader express relief after results u-turn

20 August 2020, 14:48

By Megan White

BTec students and course leaders have expressed their relief after the Government made a U-turn over results, with one Sport student saying he was "over-the-moon."

The vocational courses were not included in the initial change, in which students were awarded their Centre Assessed Grades instead of standardised grades from Ofqual.

There was outrage last week when hundreds of thousands of A-level grades were lowered by an algorithm designed to level out grades across the country.

On Wednesday, examiner Pearson said it would regrade BTecs to "address concerns about unfairness".

Oliver Prior, head of BTec at the school, said his students were at a massive disadvantage under the old algorithm because the course is new at the school this year, leaving them without previous grades for centre assessed grades to be standardised against and pulling marks down.

Following the Government's change of heart, Surya, a 17-year-old studying for a BTec in Sport at Brentwood School, told LBC he was “over-the-moon."

Surya, a 17-year-old studying for a BTEC in Sport at Brentwood School, told LBC he was “over-the-moon” with the Government’s change of heart
Surya, a 17-year-old studying for a BTEC in Sport at Brentwood School, told LBC he was “over-the-moon” with the Government’s change of heart. Picture: LBC

He said: “I was expected to get my results last week and due to the algorithm, I was predicted lower than I was expected, but obviously with the new things going on with the Government, I’ve been given the grades I should have got, so I’m happy with that.

“I’m over-the-moon, to be honest – I was nervous at first that I would have been given the grades I probably didn’t deserve, so I’m happy to get the grades I did.”

He said part of his relief over the U-turn is that worse grades this year “probably would have affected the final grades I would have got next year to top off my extended diploma, but yeah, I’m happy.”

Surya said it would have been a “great shame” to have been given the poorer grades, adding: “It was definitely a bit upsetting, because over the course of the pandemic I’ve been putting so much work in at home, so it would have been a great shame to have gotten grades I didn’t deserve.

“We’d put so much effort in during school and to have it taken away from us and to be given predicted grades instead was a bit of a shame.”

Oliver Prior, head of BTEC at the school, said his students were at a massive disadvantage under the old algorithm
Oliver Prior, head of BTEC at the school, said his students were at a massive disadvantage under the old algorithm. Picture: LBC

Mr Prior said his students had been “ready to go” to take their exams before the disruption caused by the pandemic, and he hadn’t been expecting the marks to be moved so drastically.

His reaction to the U-turn was “massive” - after going “back and forth” with exam boards, Mr Prior said the move has “eased that pressure off a little bit.”

The school is now “on track, exactly where we were hoping to be.”

He told LBC News: “We started the BTEC programme at the school this year, so it’s a brand new programme for the school, so for my students this is massive.

“We didn’t have the previous data that some other schools have had, so for us, our predicted grades were very high, because our students have done very well this year, all their coursework units they’ve achieved distinctions on.

“But for some of our students, for the exam they were due to take in May, they were put lower than we predicted – we gave them distinctions and merits and they came out with passes and near passes, which are fails basically.

“For some of our students, on their internal coursework, where we had signed it off as a distinction, some of them were moved down to merits and passes.

“So it’s been a massive jump for us… [moving them down] would have had a massive ongoing effect going into next year.”

Mr Prior added: “I’m glad now the grades have changed, and for the students, it’s massive – they shouldn’t be disadvantaged by something which isn’t under their control, so now I feel like they’re getting what they deserve.”