GCSE results 2020: Last minute change sees BTEC withdrawn – fears schools will miss email

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Half a million BTEC students have been left anxiously awaiting their results after it was announced last night their grades would not be released this morning. In a last-minute email exam board Pearson instructed schools and colleges not to release BTEC grades. The results were pulled to “address concerns about unfairness”.

The exam board said it wants more time to recalculate grades following the recent fiasco over A-Level results.

Pearson has come under fire for making the announcement less than 24 hours before students were due to receive their results.

Some even feared schools may even miss the email completely.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb sort to reassure affected students this morning, and said he was hopeful BTEC results will be released next week.

He told the BBC: “Pearson are working to correct and to review those grades and to reissue them.

“And we’re working closely with UCAS and the independent regulator and exam boards to make sure that no young person will be disadvantaged as a consequence of that delay.”

He added: “Having spoken to Pearson and all the exam boards yesterday, I believe that they will be delivered next week.”

The news BTEC results would be delayed prompted an uproar on social media.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool, wrote on Twitter: “Spare a thought for the nearly 500k BTEC students who won’t be getting their results today – and who are still waiting on their results from last week.

“I’ve long said that we need parity of esteem for vocational qualifications. This mess shows we still have a long way to go.”

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Ian Sollom, a Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman, said: “More BTEC ineptitude – just awful for those who were expecting their results today. This needs to be sorted out quickly.”

Another Twitter user said: “I can’t believe the diabolical handling of GCSE and A level results this year! 6hrs before results days BTEC results are being held back.

“My heart goes out to the young people dealing with this! Please be proud of what you have achieved despite this farce.”

BTEC results were not originally included in the Government’s u-turn on how GCSE and A-Level results were determined.

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After days of protests and heightened criticism, the Government said it would scrap its algorithm that was used to determine grades in favour of teacher assessment.

It came after thousands of students saw their results downgraded by the computer algorithm.

But on Wednesday, Pearson’s announced it would now follow suit and award BTECs on the basis of teacher grades.

Some BTECs will not have been affected by the change, as they are assessed entirely through assignments.

But the newer BTEC courses combine coursework and exams.

Pearson said grades for exam units that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic will be graded on historical performance data to “maintain overall outcomes over time”.

Students who received their BTEC results last week will also have their results reconsidered but the Department for Education promised none of those grades would be downgraded – they would only remain the same or improve.

A spokesman for Pearson said: “Following Ofqual’s announcement that A-level and GCSE students are to receive centre-assessed grades, we will be applying the same principles for students receiving BTEC results this summer.

“We will be regrading BTECs to address concerns about unfairness in relation to A-levels and GCSEs and ensure no BTEC student is disadvantaged.

“We know this could cause additional uncertainty for students and we are sorry about this.”

About 250,000 pupils take BTECs in England compared with 300,000 who study A-levels.

The qualifications have become an increasingly popular route into university with about one in five undergraduates in England accepted after studying only BTECs.

Traditionally BTECs are used to provide the skills for a specific occupation, such as childcare or plumbing.

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