Sign this petition to call on Boris Johnson and Gavin Williamson to step in and fix the wrong handling of A-level results in England after students from disadvantaged backgrounds were worst hit.


First published in August 2020.


Like many thousands of school pupils doing A levels, GCSEs, BTECs and other qualifications, Curtis Parfitt-Ford had expected to be getting his exam results this week. Instead, because of coronavirus, all of them who couldn’t take exams are having their results decided by a computer algorithm, which doesn’t look at their individual performance and marks them down for which school they went to.

Almost 40% of A-level assessments have been downgraded, potentially impacting the futures of thousands of young people. This is not right – and Curtis is calling on the Government to urgently sort out this injustice.

For a lot of pupils, the algorithm doesn’t even consider what their own teachers predicted they would get. There isn’t a proper appeals process. Worst of all, pupils from poorer schools, with lower results historically, are due to get automatically marked down by the software. Poorer pupils get marked down because of where they live and the school they go to, with their individual efforts and performance disregarded and their teacher’s assessments ignored. How can this be right?

Nobody is saying that this year’s arrangements for results are easy to sort out. The times we live in are difficult ones, but that’s no excuse for building a system that systematically discriminates against poorer pupils. Appeals using mock exams aren’t the solution, not least because many people don’t have reliable or recent mocks, and many would perform better at the end of the year than months ago.

Curtis is calling for Boris Johnson, and his Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, to step in and fix it urgently. At a minimum, the Government must ensure there is:

  • No “marking down” of individual pupils based purely on them having gone to a less good school;
  • A free appeals system open to any pupil;
  • More weight given to our own teachers’ assessments, as they are better placed that an algorithm to judge us as individuals.

The Government can choose to stop this injustice.

Please sign the petition now!



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[This piece was originally published in Change.org and re-published in PMP Magazine on 13 August 2020, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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