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These A-level results are nothing to celebrate – inequality has only worsened | Nadein Asbali


TThe English teacher in me couldn’t help but recognize the unfortunate mistake in this morning’s gloomy weather, as if it confirmed the worst fears of teachers across the country that this year’s A-level results would provide a bleak outlook for students facing the greatest disruption to their learning in memory.

Regardless of the circumstances, A-level results day can often be an anxious time for everyone involved: students, their loved ones and teachers who await the results of two years of intense study and hard work, and the contents of those envelopes. funds for card futures. But this year results day was surrounded by even more tension and controversy as we waited to see how the return to exam grades after 18 months of school upheaval would affect results.

As expected, our fears were justified. This cohort’s results have deteriorated significantly compared to teacher-assessed grades during the pandemic, with the highest grades (As and A*s) tumbling 8.4% compared to last year, and more than 28 thousand students lost the opportunity to enter the university. Things are looking a little more positive for 2019, but for students who have seen friends and siblings benefit from record grades over the past two years, that probably won’t provide any reassurance.

Ofqual already had warned that it will be a “transition year”, with results marked leniently, while active efforts remain to bring grades more in line with pre-pandemic levels. We’re told that plans to notify students in advance of revision topics and less rigid class boundaries will be enough to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s schools. But as is the case with most government plans and promises when it comes to education, this so-called safety net for students already facing serious educational upheavals has turned out to be anything but.

The guidance from the exam boards came months after schools had already finished teaching all the course content and took into account the national gap between the richest and poorest pupils more pronounced more than ever, it remains unclear how giving all students advance warning about topics could have helped close the classroom gap as opposed to simply exacerbating existing and deep-rooted educational inequities. Adding to the resentment, some students were still struggling with the questions they were being asked would not have thought of itas well as material that has never been included in exams before, errors that more than half of teachers believe have a negative impact on their students, according to one recent research.

As a teacher in one of the poorest areas of the country, it is clear to me that the government’s plans to address the problems caused and exacerbated by the pandemic have failed miserably. Some students from affluent families and affluent neighborhoods have been homeschooled for nearly two years straight and supported with ample resources, a peaceful home environment, and highly educated parents who have the time and money to invest in their children’s education.

For others, as in my community, young people have faced the harsh consequences of financial instability, unemployment and poverty. Families and children were left to struggle alone with the lack of funds. With the government the promise of laptops for deprived children who are mostly unborn, I know many families where several siblings were forced to learn from one cell phone, with very limited data. With parents who are torn between themselves work and childcareand free school meals were refused (until a young football player appeared and convinced government might be a good idea to feed the nation’s poorest children during a pandemic), it’s no surprise that today’s results point to a huge achievement gap that’s only getting worse.

Private schools again have the highest percentage of top grades this year, with 58% of A-level students getting As and A*s – up 27.3 percentage points higher than students in medium complexes. It is the same with the university competition intense this year, it is hard to imagine a future in which these disparities do not continue in higher education, as the most competitive courses are even more dominated by people from wealthy families. This status quo makes real social mobility a pipe dream, something that Conservative leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak seem woefully unprepared to consider. Instead, both focused on weird ideas like use of artificial intelligence in schools and showed almost an obsession the return of gymnasiums – none of them do anything to solve the insurmountable problems facing the country’s schools.

Teachers like me worry about what today’s results mean for young people who are still recovering from two years of chaos. But even more worrying is what our children’s education will look like in the coming months and years. The young people we train will undoubtedly face an increasingly unfair playing field.

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