Students March On Whitehall Demanding Gavin Williamson Be Sacked Over A-Level Fiasco

One protester called the system a "complete injustice".

Students are marching on Whitehall chanting “sack Gavin Williamson” and “teachers not Tories” in response to the shambolic handling of A-level results day.

Around 100 demonstrators had gathered outside Downing Street on Friday lunchtime, heading towards the Department for Education building.

Student Harry Mayes, from Stoke Newington in north London, missed out on a place at both his firm and insurance university places after receiving A, B and C in his A-levels.

The 18-year-old, who had been hoping to study neuroscience at the University of Bristol and had grades of A*, A and B submitted by his teachers, called the system a “complete injustice”.

“I’m a free school meals student and it seems like people like me have been lowered the most,” he told the PA news agency.

People take part in a protest in Westminster in London over the government's handling of A-level results.
People take part in a protest in Westminster in London over the government's handling of A-level results.
PA Media

Nearly 40% of UK grades were lowered by a “biased” algorithm, prompting fury from students across the country.

One hundred thousand pupils across England awoke on Thursday to find their A-level results had been downgraded from the marks their teachers awarded them.

Entire classes at some schools were marked down by at least one grade.

Nearly four in every 10 (39.1%) grades awarded on Thursday were lower than teachers’ predictions: 35.6% were adjusted down by one grade, while 3.3% were brought down by two and 0.2% by three grades.

In total, an estimated 280,000 A-level entries were affected by the process.


Social media was awash with individual stories of students finding themselves in dire circumstances.

So my brilliant kid, who spent 5 years in and out of hospital and is disabled, had her teachers’ grades marked down and has lost her place at university. She got straight As at GCSE, mostly teaching herself in hospital. She called the uni. They said they’re full. I give up.

— Amanda Lees (@amandalees) August 13, 2020

I have a suicidal daughter who hadn’t stopped crying since 8am. She has missed out on her firm offer due to 2 grades being downgraded. Her Centre assessment grades were A* A* A. In stead she got A A* B. I have just been touch with our local MP to make a complaint.

— Naz Malik (@NYMalik) August 13, 2020

Islington and Newham sixth form college NEU groups, Islington and Lambeth NEU, who backed today’s protest, said: “Tens of thousands of young people are seeing their futures threatened by an ignorant Conservative government intent on grading them using a statistical model designed to fail them unfairly and reinforce the existing and growing inequalities of Tory Britain.

“We want [Boris Johnson’s] algorithm-calculated grades scrapped, all students to be awarded at least their teacher-assessed grades and Gavin Williamson sacked.”

Deputy Labour Party leader Angela Rayner this morning said the government has made an “absolute mess” of school exams grading.

She told BBC Breakfast: “We believe the only option that the government have got now is to go back to the teacher-awarded grades because they’ve made such a fiasco.

“I mean, if you look at what’s happened over the last 24 hours, a lot of children who have worked incredibly hard have been devastated by a system that’s been completely flawed and has taken into account the school’s previous history rather than what that child’s been able to achieve this year.

“I think that’s devastating and there’s baked[-in] inequality in what’s happened.”


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