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Prime Minister Boris Johnson was last seen on the BBC last week following the fiasco surrounding A-level grades. At that time, the PM said the system was “robust” and he supported the Education Secretary Gavin William. But in the past week, Mr Johnson has been absent and the anger surrounding exam results has only escalated.
Boris Johnson stepped in from afar to announced a major U-turn on A-level grades.
A-level grades announced last week have been a shambles according to pupils, teachers and commentators.
Now the Government has announced a major Government U-turn amid growing fury from pupils, Conservative MPs, parents and teachers about the handling of the exam grades crisis.
A-level and GCSE students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be handed exam grades as predicted by their teachers instead of a controversial algorithm.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today apologised for causing distress to students regarding their grades.
He said he is “incredibly sorry for the distress” caused to pupils after having to make a U-turn in how A-levels and GCSEs are graded.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “I would like to start off by apologising – saying sorry to all those young people who’ve been affected by this.
“This is something none of us expected to see and none of us wanted to see.”
The controversial algorithm led to heartbreaking stories from pupils who had missed out on places based on the performance of their school over recent years, in spite of their predicted grades from teachers.
One student tweeted: “Simple fact my dream has been shattered, predicted a B in my REPEAT exam and given a D – rejected from queens to study Psychology due to this ridiculous system- appalled by the treatment of students this year, heartbroken. A CHANGE IS NEEDED!”
Another wrote: “I lost my place at Oxford despite being given AAA. I was predicted 3 A*s; all 3 of my A Level grades were downgraded. I go to a state comprehensive too!”
One Twitter user added: “I was predicted ABC and was awarded CCD last week. I lost my place at my dream uni. I hope this encourages the government to award Alevel students the grades they deserve #ALevelProtests #wheresBoris #gcses2020”.
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Many social media users have condemned the PM for his absence during the current scandal.
On Twitter user wrote: “Through all of this @BorisJohnson remains on holiday, who can doubt Cummings is calling the shots and getting it wrong. The Vote Leave cabal might have known how to run a divisive, corrupt campaign but they have no idea how to run a country.”
Another added: “It is futile asking #WheresBoris, just as it’s hopeless demanding that Gavin Williamson resign. This Gov’t has shown clearly that it will act with impunity, regardless of what we want – they simply don’t give a f**k. Our only hope is in 2024 when we can vote them out…”
One Twitter user added: “This calamitous government is wrecking our country, our kids future & our economy. When a few pissed off people attack them on twitter over #ALevelsResults we get another #UTurn Imagine what we could do if 3.5 percent of the population took to the streets in real anger. #wheresBoris”.
One person wrote: “Can people please stop saying that Boris is taking a holiday from taking responsibility? You can’t take a holiday from something you’ve never done. #wheresBoris”.
Where is Boris Johnson?
Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson is currently taking a break north of the border in Scotland this week.
Mr Johnson is not expected to return to work until the following week.
Asked if the PM could cut short his holiday, the spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister will be kept up to date and will continue to receive updates and briefings as necessary.”
Reportedly the PM is spending his holiday camping in Scotland with his finance Carrie Symonds and young son Wilfred.
Many are calling for Mr Williamson’s resignation or calling for the PM to sack the Education Secretary.
However, several political experts believe it is unlikely he will sack Mr Williamson given his stance earlier this year after the Dominic Cummings scandal.
Critics of Mr Johnson claim his refusal to sack Mr Cummings for breaching lockdown rules squandered his authority and lost essential support.
One person tweeted: “We’ve seen enough of Boris, he would not sack his men even though most of the country wants, Cummings, Jenrick & Gavin Williamson should be sacked! These liars will not change! Shockingly, Brexit voters will still back them, unfortunately! Shameless!!”
Another added: “Why would they sack him when they didn’t sack Cummings? I mean, it would just seem like a double standard.”
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