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King's Lynn college boss hits out over student anxiety after A-level U-turn

A college boss has welcomed the government's U-turn over A-level grades, but says he is still furious about the impact on his students.

Last week , officials at the College of West Anglia said some of their students had been penalised by the system through which grades were worked out, following the cancellation of this summer's exams.

The institution, which has a campus in Lynn's Tennyson Avenue, has now issued revised figures for its results, showing higher pass rates at top grades.

Students at the College of West Anglia did have their results downgraded last week, officials claimed.
Students at the College of West Anglia did have their results downgraded last week, officials claimed.

But its principal, David Pomfret, has slammed ministers who he feels got the system wrong in the first place.

He said this evening: "This was a really strong cohort and I'm delighted that our students will now be given the grades that they deserved.

"This has been handled so badly by Government and I'm really angry that the resulting student anxiety could have been avoided."

College of West Anglia principal David Pomfret
College of West Anglia principal David Pomfret

Under the previously announced system put in place after exams were halted due to the coronavirus, grades were determined through teachers' assessments which then went through an external moderation process.

Last week, the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced what he termed a "triple lock" enabling students to accept either the grades they were awarded through the system, grades based on mock exams or sit a new exam in the autumn.

But around 40 per cent of grades nationally were reduced through the system.

Today's announcement means that grades both for A-levels and GCSEs, which are due to be published this Thursday,will be awarded on the basis of teacher assessments, except where grades determined through the moderation system are higher.

It also means that the college is now reporting that 80.8 per cent of its grades were at A* to C, compared to 73 per cent under the original results.

The announcement does not affect students who sat vocational qualifications, such as B-Tec programmes and threats of legal action in support of those students remain live.

But Mr Pomfret said: "In the end the only sensible outcome has been reached, including a decision ahead of GCSE results day to award those on professional teacher assessments."

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