Family & Education

Delay over vocational course results criticised

'Hard to overstate how badly the entire process appears to have been managed,' one head says


The delay over vocational exam results has been criticised by Jewish school heads. 

On Wednesday afternoon exam board Pearson asked schools to withhold releasing results of level 1 and 2 BTecs that were due to be announced the following day.  

It is also reviewing level 3 BTecs, which were issued last week.   

Spencer Lewis, executive headteacher of Yavneh College, said a number of students had received BTec results “which might now change. This makes things very difficult for them as entry into sixthform might depend on that grade.  

 “For Pearson to make this change at 5 pm yesterday afternoon is frankly unacceptable as it is something which could have been done days or even weeks ago. I feel desperately sorry for the pupils affected and we doing everything we can to reassure them.”  

Patrick Moriarty, head of JCoSS, said, “The late announcements on vocational grades are yet another heavy blow to a results process that has hugely undermined confidence among students, parents and schools.”  

Mr Moriarty, who was outspoken on the fiasco over A-level results earlier this week, said level 3 vocational grades were “a week late already and some university places are in jeopardy as a result. It is hard to overstate how badly the entire process appears to have been managed and communicated.”  

Pearson took the decision following the U-turn on A-levels and GCSEs announced on Monday by the government, resulting in grades being awarded on the basis of teacher assessment rather than readjusted according to a computer programme which took into account the previous academic performance of the school.  

The exam board said it was reviewing grades in light of the change to other exams in order to be fair to students. Btec grades would go up or remain the same, but not drop.  

Hannele Reece, head of Kantor King Solomon High School said  it was "disappointing"  that students doing BTec and similar qualifications were unable to receive their results, "however it was probably an inevitable consequence of the algorithm fiasco".

 She hoped " this situation has highlighted the lack of regard by some for the professionals in education and that lessons are learnt for the future. No applicants to our sixht form have been disadvantaged and I sincerely hope that no student is left without a secure future pathway as a result.."

JCoSS does not teach Btecs, but instead offers the Cambridge National courses run by the OCR board. Around 15 per cent of year-11 students take these rather GCSEs.  

The school was notified on Tuesday by OCR that official results would be delayed a week but advised to issue teacher grades on Thursday, Mr Moriarty said.   

“Final grades will be no lower and may in a few cases be higher when they are published, and we are therefore able to proceed with sixth form admissions with a good degree of confidence,” he said.  

Meanwhile, the government has pledged that all students who now have the required grades will be able to go to their first-choice university, although some may have to wait till next year.

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