Alevel results the most unfair in a generation warn headteachers following changes

first_imgBut leading heads representing schools such as Eton College and Harrow argue the reforms have been “rushed and flawed” and will breed inconsistency and confusion.Ofqual maintained that its reforms were to make the system “clearer, more consistent, and fairer for all students”.However, Chris King – chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) – argued that the changes to the exam appeal system will have “lifelong consequences” for bright pupils who will miss out on Oxbridge places by a few points because of subjective marking. Mr King added: “The extent of uncertainty and inconsistency in how this summer’s grades can be checked is absurd.  This has all the hallmarks of reforms brought in far too quickly with some previously announced changes being confirmed, others changed and yet others shelved.”“It is also unacceptable that these further changes have been announced after some schools broke up for the summer holidays.“In addition, we have only now found out for the first time – and very late in the day – precisely how the new experimental mark-checking system will be tested this year when initial marks are reviewed across all subjects.  “Just as we feared, this process will be very vague and unsatisfactory, leading to the likelihood of fewer accurate replacement marks than in previous years.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. In its latest annual survey the regulator found that 42 per cent of head teachers feel that the current appeals system is unfair compared to 29 per cent who think that it is fair.   It also found that head teacher trust in A-levels has declined since last year from 88 per cent to 85 per cent. “Reviewers will have to look out for ‘unreasonable exercise of academic judgment’ but all they will have to go on is Ofqual’s advice that ‘unreasonable’ should be given its normal meaning and a common-sense approach should be adopted’. What kind of precision check is that for high-stakes exams such as A-level?”   Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the NATH, said: “It is clear that unreasonable deadlines have been put on exam boards to make the changes announced three months ago.  “Their further alteration over the summer is bound to cause confusion and shows that the regulator rushed the proposed reforms.”An Ofqual spokesman said: “It’s really important to us that students get the marks that their performance deserves.”The decisions we have taken will make the systems schools and colleges use to challenge GCSE, AS and A-level results in England clearer, more consistent, and fairer for all students.“The changes have been informed by research and based on extensive consultation with schools’ groups, subject associations, teachers and students.”We are phasing in the reforms so that exam boards can make the necessary changes to their systems in an orderly and achievable way.“We have written to around 7,000 schools and colleges in England on three occasions to draw their attention to the planned changes, and issued a succinct guide to help anyone with an interest navigate the new arrangements.“None of the changes we are making will stand in the way of a marking mistake being found and corrected.”Check out our guides• Step-by-step guide to Clearing Ofqual, reforms, A-level, clearing, university places, results He told the Telegraph: “This unfair situation could have a seriously harmful impact on young people’s life chances. A-level results will be the “most unfair in a generation”, headteachers have warned, after changes to the appeals process that may result in students missing out on places at elite universities.Leading heads of both private and state schools said that students appealing exam results face “the most chaotic and unfair year in a generation”.Search for Clearing vacancies onlineDownload the Clearing app on iPhone or AndroidIn May this year, Ofqual, the exam boards regulator, said it would only allow re-marking if there were “clear errors”.In a major clampdown on exam appeals, Ofqual said it would press ahead with a tougher system that will make it harder for some pupils to get a “second bite of the cherry”. “For example, there is a risk that students might not get the marks they deserve and miss out on a place at Oxford, Cambridge or another top university or medical school.“One or two marks can mean the difference between fulfilling their dreams or being forced to completely rethink their futures.“Lack of accuracy and fair appeal is not only wrong but has lifelong consequences; this is why we call on the regulator to put the wellbeing of students rather than the system at the centre of its approach.”His warnings came as hundreds of thousands of students prepare to learn their A-level results later this week. A-level Results Day 00 : 00 : 00 : 00 Days Hrs Mins Secs • Step-by-step guide to Adjustment• Step-by-step guide to A-level Results Day One or two marks can mean the difference between fulfilling their dreams or being forced to completely rethink their futuresChris King, HMC chairman The HMC and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) have warned students and parents that this year “it may be harder than ever before for A-level candidates who appeal their grades to get a fair outcome”. They argue that the new rules on formal appeals against this summer’s results are ‘confusing’ because they will only apply only to three subjects.They said that the list of subjects – physics, geography and religious studies – has now been changed since it was first announced earlier this year.   In June Ofqual published a survey which showed deteriorating faith in A-levels among head teachers.   Headteachers have said the new rules on formal appeals are ‘confusing’last_img read more

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Pensioner 85 fights off burglars with billiard cue

She said: “He had a hood up and something over his face. I shouted: ‘What are you doing?’ I was angry and upset.””He turned and ran down the stairs into the porch. He legged it down the stairs.”She said she locked the front door and saw her grandfather on his back on the floor near the radiator.”He was covered in blood and he had some sort of stick in his hand and he was in a lot of pain. It looked like a snooker cue in his hand,” she said.There was a lot of glass and a lot of blood on the floor and walls, she said.Roderick McDonald, 52, of Luxembourg Close, Luton and Stephen Simons, 44, of Brook Street, Luton deny aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm to Michael Ring on 10 August last year.Prosecutor Isabel Delamere told the jury that DNA recovered from broken glass on the floor in the conservatory was swabbed and found to match McDonald. CCTV from outside the house showed Simons before he put on a balaclava, she said. Mr Ring said he suffered cuts from a Stanley knife in the struggle. He set the burglar alarm off and when the black man ran upstairs he was confronted by his granddaughter Emma Price who had called the police, and was shouting at him.The man ran back down stairs and kicked Mr Ring in the chest.He said the black man ran out of the front of the house and the white man, who had been ransacking the living room, escaped by the way he came in.Mr Ring said the room had been “pulled to pieces” and he was bleeding everywhere. He went on: “Then I heard glass breaking. I got out of bed. The nearest thing I could see was a billiard cue. I kept it near the bed because I expected the thieves to come back again.”I pulled back the curtain [in the living room] and I saw two gentlemen in the conservatory.”There was a bolt holding the doors and they were having difficulty trying to get in.”He said he saw a white man, alleged to be Roderick McDonald, working on the bottom of the door and a black man, alleged to be Stephen Simons, watching him.Mr Ring, who walks with a crutch, said: “I switched on the light in the room hoping to deter them, but they continued as if I wasn’t there.”He said he “rammed” the billiard cue in the face of the white man saying: “He fell backwards and I thought they would disappear, but the [other] chap jumped over the first man and yanked the door. It opened and he came in to fight me. He came in to do battle.”He came straight for me. He pushed me out of the way. I hit him with the billiard cue a couple of times.” CCTV captured the robbers on Michael Ring’s property Credit:South Beds News Agency They moved a safe from the upstairs but were unable to get it down. After that break-in his son-in-law fitted an alarm and CCTV.Mr Ring, who comes from Cork, said he woke at 5am on 10 August to use the toilet and was awake in bed when he heard a noise. CCTV captured the robbers on Michael Ring's property  He went on: “The carpet and armchairs were covered in blood – mine unfortunately. I was taken to hospital. I was in a few days. I was in a lot of agony.”In the witness box Ms Price said she was woken at 5am by the sound of smashing glass and voices.She said: “I couldn’t believe it [a burglary] was happening again. I panicked and grabbed my mobile phone. I called 999. I was in a state of shock.”I could hear my granddad saying ‘Call the police.'”Ms Price said she heard her grandfather call out in pain. She went out of her room and saw a man at the top of the stairs. An 84-year-old pensioner who kept a billiard cue by his bed after he was burgled ‘rammed’ it into in the face of one intruder and used it to fend off another.Michael Ring suffered fractured discs in his spine, a black eye, cuts to his wrists and bruising on the brain after taking on the two masked men.In the early hours of 10 August last year, Mr Ring was asleep downstairs at his home in Ashburnham Road, Luton when the men broke in through his conservatory, Luton crown court heard on Thursday.In the witness box Mr Ring, now 85, said: “My granddaughter stayed with me that night – she stayed with me because I had been broken into.”He said he had lived in the four bedroom house since 1965. His wife died in April 2017 and two months later he was burgled. His late wife’s jewellery was taken along with £500.On that occasion the burglars forced their way in through the conservatory and forced open French window doors to get into the living room. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. I heard glass breaking. I got out of bed. The nearest thing I could see was a billiard cue. I kept it near the bed because I expected the thieves to come back againPensioner Michael Ring read more

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