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External Candidates invisible in grade predictions process

An open letter to Secretary of State for Education

Dear Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP,

Further to our letter on 17th August, we write to you again with regards to the situation external candidates find themselves in, as a direct result of the government’s poor handling of the grades predictions process. Despite our highlighting of this in our Predicting Futures report published in June 2020, external candidates have not been provided CAG results, for which the time has now passed. Their profiles are with exam centres who, it appears do not hold the authority to provide predicted grades due to no previous relation or understanding of their work. The system has entirely overlooked this cohort of pupils, for whom your “U turn” has been absolutely meaningless. This has robbed many external candidates the opportunity to take up their chosen university courses, further delaying their academic and employment prospects.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. Photo: US Secretary of Defense/Wikimedia Commons

Many external candidates have already experienced difficulty and hardship, which has disrupted their studies. We therefore urge you to take the following action to remedy the situation for external candidates and mitigate further negative impact:

  1. We urge you to confirm UCAS predicted grades - a great alternative to CAG predicted grades, as they are also made by former teachers and private tutors - for all external candidates.

  2. Provide the option for them to re-sit exams free of charge, if dissatisfied with results.

  3. Ensure that the highest grade out of the UCAS prediction and the re-sit in October is the final result.

  4. Allow CAG appeals for the few external candidates that have received results which are the same as their 2019 results.

  5. Make it mandatory for universities to honour the offers for students’ chosen courses for a September 2021 start date, if it is not possible to start in September 2020.

  6. Offer a “Bridging Futures” course for all external candidates to continue professional and personal development in the interim.

Should you have any further enquiries please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

The Equality Act Review

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