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Ofqual boss threatened to quit unless Gavin Williamson gave his public backing


Ofqual boss threatened to quit unless Gavin Williamson gave his public backing to embattled exams regulatory after A-levels results U-turn

  • Roger Taylor demanded a public statement of support from Gavin Williamson
  • He was speaking in wake of Government’s U-turn over A-level and GCSE results
  • In aftermath Mr Williamson refused to declare his ‘confidence’ in the regulator 

Roger Taylor, Ofqual's chairman, threatened to quit unless Education Secretary Gavin Williamson gave his public backing to the embattled exams regulator

Roger Taylor, Ofqual’s chairman, threatened to quit unless Education Secretary Gavin Williamson gave his public backing to the embattled exams regulator

The boss of Ofqual threatened to quit unless Education Secretary Gavin Williamson gave his public backing to the embattled exams regulator, it was reported last night. 

Roger Taylor, Ofqual’s chairman, made a humiliating televised apology to the nation’s teenagers last week after the regulator’s algorithm caused havoc to A-level results. 

But believing that Mr Williamson was blaming him for the fiasco, Mr Taylor threatened to quit, according to The Guardian. 

On Wednesday, he demanded a public statement of support from Mr Williamson, the newspaper reported. It duly arrived, saying the Department for Education had ‘full confidence’ in Ofqual. 

The statement also revealed for the first time that Ofqual had decided to pull the plug on standardisation, not Mr Williamson – despite impressions the minister had given in interviews over previous days. 

‘The decision they took to move from moderated grades to centre assessed grades was one that we agreed with’, the DfE said.

In the immediate aftermath of the crisis Mr Williamson repeatedly refused to declare his ‘confidence’ in the regulator until Mr Taylor reportedly forced him to change his tune. 

The first sign that Ofqual would refuse to take the blame lying down came last Monday, after the mayhem of A-level results saw thousands get rejected from their first choice universities. 

Despite Mr Williamson (pictured) saying he received multiple 'assurances', his department were unable to inspect Ofqual's work until it was released to the public last week

Despite Mr Williamson (pictured) saying he received multiple ‘assurances’, his department were unable to inspect Ofqual’s work until it was released to the public last week

Rather than announce he was quitting, Mr Taylor apologised but described how ‘Ofqual was asked by the Secretary of State to develop a system for awarding calculated grades’. 

The roots of the system lie in a letter which Mr Williamson sent on March 31 cancelling summer exams. 

He instructed the regulator to come up with a system that ensured ‘qualification standards are maintained and the distribution of grades follows a similar profile to that in previous years’. 

As in Scotland, Ofqual understood this meant they should preserve existing educational inequalities, rather than seek to stamp them out.

Despite Mr Williamson saying he received multiple ‘assurances’, his department were unable to inspect Ofqual’s work until it was released to the public last week. Ofqual did not respond to a request for comment.

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