Free and independent appeals process is vital for A-level results fairness.

Siân Gwenllian says that no young person should suffer because of a flawed system.

Students should be allowed to refer their awarded A-level grades to a free and independent appeals process – that is the message from Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Education Minister, Siân Gwenllian MS.

Ms Gwenllian wants to see a “robust, national and independent system of appeal” amidst concerns that some students are set to see a down-grade in the A-level results predicted for them by their teachers.

While teachers were asked to assess grades for each student based on coursework, mock exams and homework, the grades were put through a 'standardisation’ process'. As a result, it has been reported that thousands of students are set to get lower grades than expected for reasons beyond their control.

A Children’s Commissioner report published in May showed that 52% of children aged 12 – 18 said they were worried about how coronavirus would affect their exam results, and 58% were worried about falling behind.

Ms Gwenllian praised teachers and students alike for showing “incredible resilience” during a time of “unimaginable uncertainty” and has called for every A-level student to have access to careers advice, counselling and a “robust, national and independent” appeals process. Most importantly, says Ms Gwenllian, is that these services should be free.

Ms Gwenllian has also called for Welsh universities to be flexible and keep places open for students who may have to appeal their results.

Siân Gwenllian MS, Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister said:

“Teachers and pupils have shown incredible resilience during this time of unimaginable uncertainty.

“It is so unfair that this cohort of young people has had to deal with much that is out of their control.

“I’m calling on the Welsh Government to acknowledge the anxiety all this uncertainty is causing, and to step in with a package of support for them during this time – this needs to include careers advice, counselling and – crucially – a robust, national and independent system of appeal. All of this must be free for our learners.

“Furthermore, individual pupils as well as schools need to be able to refer themselves to the appeals process. Schools must ensure rigorous oversight of this so that everyone who should have their grades appealed is able to do so.

“Too much emphasis has been on the system – now we must see focus on the individual, and ensure that no young person should suffer because of this flawed system.”

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