Penrith student's dream of university up in the air after results downgraded

Grace was predicted 3 A grades, but received 3 Bs last week. Credit: ITV News

An A-level student from Cumbria says she is 'really disappointed' after after losing her place at Edinburgh University to study veterinary science.

18-year-old Grace Cresswell and her dad, who live near Penrith, opened her results Thursday. On one sheet was her teacher grades of 3 As, but the other one was her downgraded results of 3 Bs. They would not be good enough for a place at Edinburgh.

Grace told ITV Border: "I was really disappointed, obviously, as anyone would be. I thought maybe one of my grades might've dropped because I knew what was going on, but I didn't expect all of them to be dropped.

"I was shocked. I spoke to the teachers who made me feel better, but when I spoke to my mum there were tears."

Credit: ITV News

Her dad, Rob, firmly blames the Government, and national education bodies, for the situation. He said: "It's been a debacle and it lurches from one thing to another. The appeals process was out there and then taken down.

"It really is the uncertainty of not knowing and I feel really sorry for Grace because she was planning to go to Edinburgh, she wants to get things prepared, but we can't do anything until we know. It's just a waiting game."

It's not just Grace who's been affected. Abbie Smith, from Carlisle, said that she had spent an extra year at school so she could study psychology at Durham University, but found her grades were now downgrades too.

She told ITV Border: "Some of my friends have walked out with Us and Es in their subjects. At least for me I can apply to other places but they have no chance of getting in anywhere even though they got Bs and Cs in their mocks.

"It's ridiculous. So, it's not just about being able to go to your university of choice, it's about being able to go any university when you've worked so hard to get there."

When exams were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers were asked to assess what they thought each pupil would achieve. They were then asked to put each student in rank order with each grade boundary.

Those marks were then standardised by the exam regulator Ofqual based on:

  • Previous results in that subject

  • Prior attainment of the year group

  • Results of the school or college in recent years

Speculation is mounting that the government could u-turn by the end of the day in the face of growing backlash to the A-levels crisis.

One Tory backbencher has told ITV News there will be a change in government policy later on Monday, as the fallout in England around the downgrading of almost 40% of grades deepens.

More on this as we get it.

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