Open Letter to the SofS for Education

Dear Mr. Williamson

How often have we heard that these are unprecedented times. Sacrifices have been made, lives have been turned upside down and decisions have been made which would have been unthinkable at the beginning of the year. But slowly we are getting back to some normality and in time the necessary measures put in place can be lifted entirely, what has been done, can be slowly undone.

There is one aspect, however, which can never be undone and will have lifelong ramifications for those concerned; our children’s future.

Union Blue understands the sometimes impossible situations presented as a result of coronavirus control and well understand that temporary measures are never going to be perfect and will attract criticism. Exam results are different. The temporary measure of assessing attainment through teacher assessment and standardisation by algorithm may be temporary but the effects are lifelong. Every year there are accounts of grade discrepancy but this year there are too many to consider anomalies and we would urge a rethink.

Union Blue is especially concerned that the assessment process has had a disproportionate effect on lower income households where academic achievement is an important route out of poverty. The standardising of grades has effectively ruled out any chance for any individual to show true exceptional ability and has stifled aspiration. A principle Union Blue holds dear is the ladder of opportunity but where an algorithm takes that ladder away we cannot stand by and be silent.

Union Blue has been fully supportive of the Government’s measures to tackle this pandemic and is especially supportive of the steps taken to protect jobs. On the issue of exam results we urge you recognise that a mistake has been made and to take up the offer of assistance made by the Royal Statistical Society to ensure any calculations is done is a fair and consistent way which does not penalise those most reliant on having their good academic achievement recognised.

With the GCSE results only days away there is no time to lose and we urge you to act and act quickly.

Yours Sincerely

Richard Short

Director – Union Blue

Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists