Commenting on the decision, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"Gavin Williamson has, finally, done the right thing. The pity is that he has done so having exhausted all other options. Students and their teachers have endured days of completely unnecessary stress and worry. For many students, this announcement will generate further uncertainty if they have been rejected from their first-choice course, and university, on the basis of the inaccurate and unjust Ofqual awarding process.

"Young people have suffered enough. They have few chances in the jobs market as the country faces rising unemployment and recession. It is right that the cap on university places has been lifted, so that more young people, who have worked so hard for their A Levels, can continue their studies and fulfil their potential. 

"One of many lessons for Government to learn from this sorry saga is to listen to the profession. The Department for Education's determination to put all eggs in one basket through a single set of summer exams has come back to haunt them. It is very much a disaster of their own making.

"This is a shameful episode. It must never happen again. The u-turn in Scotland includes a long-term review of the assessment methods used to award qualifications, including the possibility of more coursework and systematic, moderated teacher assessment, and it is critical that the same occurs in England. 

"We not only need a careful and systematic review, but an absolute assurance to next year's GCSE and A-Level students that this cannot and will not happen again."

ENDS

2020-142-NEU

Press contacts:
Press Office direct line: 0207 380 4706
Out of hours: 07879 480 061