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Students will receive final GCSE grades on Thursday despite U-turn

Victoria Jones

By Eleanor Busby, PA Education Correspondent

GCSE students will receive their final grades on Thursday despite the UK Government’s U-turn on grading, exam boards have pledged.

All schools and colleges will receive their pupils’ GCSE grades from the exam boards ahead of results day, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has said.

Exam boards said they have been “working hard” to provide schools and colleges with students’ centre assessment grades, which are based on teachers’ estimates, or the moderated grades if they are higher.

The announcement comes amid confusion about how GCSE results day would run following the U-turn.

The UK Government announced that GCSE students in England could opt for grades based on their teachers’ estimates – if they were higher than the moderated grades they received.

But head teachers were unsure whether GCSE students would also be awarded their calculated grades – those which were moderated using Ofqual’s controversial algorithm – alongside their teachers’ grades on Thursday.

A press release from the UK Department for Education (DfE) late on Monday suggested that schools and colleges would tell students their centre assessment grades, but “official results” would be released next week.

But when asked on BBC Breakfast what pupils would receive on Thursday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Youngsters will be told whichever is their highest – whether it is that centre assessed grade or whether that is the moderated standardised grade that has been provided by Ofqual.”

“Certification will follow later,” he added.

On Tuesday, the Labour Party called on Mr Williamson to provide “immediate clarity” on what GCSE results day would look like for students on Thursday.

“If young people do not know all of their grades, they could be concerned about losing college and apprenticeship places. This is not acceptable,” Kate Green, Labour’s shadow education secretary, warned.

But the JCQ, which represents the exam boards, has said GCSE students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their “final grades as usual” on Thursday.

A statement from the JCQ said: “Following yesterday’s announcement to allow awarding in England, Northern Ireland and Wales of centre assessed grades, the exam boards are working hard to provide the final centre assessment grades (or calculated grade if higher) GCSE results to schools and colleges.

“JCQ can now confirm that all schools and colleges will receive their results according to the published time of 00:01 on Wednesday August 19, allowing students to receive their final grades as usual on Thursday.”

But the media briefing with exam boards on GCSE results day will no longer go ahead following the U-turn on grading.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “We are very pleased that JCQ has been able to confirm that all schools and colleges will receive the appropriate GCSE grades for their students tomorrow, allowing students to receive them as usual on Thursday.

“It will be a great relief to all concerned, and credit to the exam boards for turning this round so quickly.”

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