24 Hour Flash Survey: Students' Immediate Reaction to the Government U-turn

Eleana Davidson on 18 August 2020

Over the weekend our panel told us that they felt very passionately about the injustice of the algorithmic grading system, saying they felt robbed, cheated and disappointed that their education dreams wouldn’t be realised. And then yesterday came the announcement of the reverse in Grading Policy, awarding students their Centre Assessed Grades instead. As the news broke and the shockwaves caused even more confusion across the entire country, we turned to our Opinion Panel to get their immediate reactions. And here’s what we found. 

Firstly, of those students who did not receive offers from their firm choices, even despite the U-turn, almost 70% of them are now considering contacting their firm university choice to try to regain their place.

“I'm confused now. I am not sure what to do because I just received an offer from my clearing choice and instead of being happy now I'm wondering what if?!”

Overall, most students on our panel feel that the reverse in policy is a good idea, with 77% answering this way. Unsurprisingly, as 30% said that the algorithm-calculated grade hadn’t given them the results they needed. 

But when asked who is to blame for the current confusion, students mostly blamed the government, in particular calling out Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education. Students also highlighted Ofqual as partly responsible.

They are not blaming universities. 

“Results should have been made a priority. I am highly upset that the government has not come to a decision on how to form grades by results day, and am finding the whole process to be a farce.”

And this sentiment of blame has been echoed by the readership statistics of The Guardian in the last few days following A-Level Results Day. The articles around the hardships and unfairness that students faced have been read over 1100% more than the articles about universities being flexible with their offers.  

“This paints a picture that students (and their parents) are more interested in the fact that they have been very hard done by and less interested in what universities are doing to help tackle the problem. 

News-wise, anger and resentment is still very much front and centre. However, the anger is all directed towards the likes of Ofqual and other governing bodies, rather than the universities themselves.

There is certainly space for universities to push that they will do everything they can to be flexible and accommodating to the 2020 cohort, and demonstrate the empathy that has arguably been lacking from the governing bodies. It could prove very powerful for institutions to fill that empathy void.” - Tom, Director of Advertising

With the student numbers cap lifted and everything up in the air, it’s all still to play for. As we said earlier this week, you need to make sure you’re supportive and understanding. Be ready with the answers when students come to you with questions. Anticipate what students want and need and help them to make the right decision, and if you need any extra help, get in touch today.  

Eleana Davidson
Eleana Davidson on 18 August 2020