Grade shifting leaves some Midlands GCSE students feeling unfairly treated on results day

There were still plenty of happy faces in the Midlands today Credit: ITV News Central

Thousands of GCSE and BTEC students have been getting their results today, as grades fell back in line with pre-pandemic standards.

As with A-levels last week, the Government had warned students to expect a "shock" when they opened their envelopes. The exam regulator, Ofqual, based in Coventry, wanted results to return to 2019 levels after years of generous marking in 2020 and 2021.

In the East Midlands, 18.5% of papers received a top grade of 7 or above. That's a sharp fall from last year's figure of 22.5%, but slightly up on the 2019 figure of 18.3%.

In the West Midlands, the figure was 18.4% this year, compared to 22.8% last year and 18.1% in 2019.

It may feel like a 'return to normal' for this year's cohort, but some argue their journey to the exam hall has been far from normal. In Years 8 and 9, they had the disruption of Covid and have been playing catch-up to make up for that lost learning.

Some students we spoke to today at schools in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and Solihull felt they had been unfairly treated. They believe the lowering of grade boundaries had been premature for a year group still affected by the pandemic.

The Government says it needs to keep grade inflation in check to maintain the value of qualifications. It points to the support given to Year 11s - there was advance notice about some exam topics and papers were more spread out to give students more time to revise. Sixth form colleges and FE colleges, it says, will take Covid disruption into account when offering places.

There are now some big decisions for those who got their results today about what to do next - they could go onto to study A-levels, T-levels or other vocational qualifications.  Whatever they decide, they've already proved themselves top grade students at resilience - and they fully deserve to celebrate tonight.