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Daily News Summary
18 August 2023

Exams 2023: A-level results reveal 'growing disparity' between most and least advantaged students
'The IB reinforces to educators that they have a purpose: they are making the world a better place'
Teachers could strike over pay in 2024, union leaders warn

Exams 2023: A-level results reveal 'growing disparity' between most and least advantaged students


School leaders and education experts have blamed the government for the “huge disruption” suffered by pupils in England after top A-level grades were subject to the biggest drop on record as a result of post-pandemic grade deflation. Mary Richardson, a professor of educational assessment at UCL, warned: “It’s very unfair on this year’s pupils. The grade deflation is exacerbating the socio-economic divide.” By Adam Forrest and Jon Stone, The Independent.

Data released yesterday by exams regulator Ofqual revealed that just under half (47.4 per cent) of the A-level grades awarded to independent schools were A* or A – an increase of three per cent since 2019. The share of top grades at non-selective state schools grew by 1.5 per cent, with 25.4 per cent of A-level papers at academies achieving A* or A and 22 per cent doing so at comprehensives. Speaking to iNews, chairman of the Independent Schools Council Barnaby Lenon highlighted the impact of Covid disruption and poor attendance on exam grades, adding: “Independent schools recognise they have a role to play in reducing the disadvantage gap, and most are already engaging in meaningful partnership work so that staff and students from all types schools can work together to improve education for more young people.” By Cahal Milmo.

Writing in The Telegraph, former independent school high master Dr Martin Stephen says it is important to remember how testing the last few years have been for young people, especially this year's A-level cohort. Dr Stephen writes: "Universities, for example, should be doing much more to prepare students for the challenges that they will face in leaving home – this for a generation who were locked in their homes for years."

Education secretary Gillian Keegan has defended the decision to return to stricter A-level grading, saying that “in 10 years time no one will be looking” at this year’s results. Labour has accused Ms Keegan of making “incredibly rude and dismissive” comments about the long-term importance of A-level results. By Jack Maidment, The Telegraph.

A number of A-level students in the South East were interviewed by BBC News yesterday as they collected their exam results. Several schools in membership of the ISC's constituent associations are mentioned. By Flaminia Luck.

Tes has broken down this year's A-level results by subject, revealing just 10 per cent of English literature entries received the highest grades this summer, compared with 16.5 per cent in 2022. 16.5 per cent of maths entries were awarded an A* this year compared with 22.8 per cent last year. By Matilda Martin.

BBC News summarises six key takeaways from this year's A-level and other Level 3 results, with the news that girls have outperformed boys again at the top A-level grades but only just - 27.5% of A-levels taken by girls were an A* or A, compared with 26.9% of those taken by boys. By Hazel Shearing and the data journalism team.


'The IB reinforces to educators that they have a purpose: they are making the world a better place'


Writing in Schools Week, Robert Harrison explores the expansion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) since its creation in the 1960s, and argues that it offers educators a richer experience than the traditional curriculum. Mr Harrison, director of education and integrated technology at ACS International Schools, says: "The IB also gives global context and an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded, motivated individuals at home and around the world."

Schools Week

Teachers could strike over pay in 2024, union leaders warn


The outgoing leaders of the NEU have said that the government will face pressure to offer further pay rises to teachers as the general election nears. Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted have warned that ministers would be “very foolish” to go into a general election with “another pay cut” following a dispute resulting in national strikes this year. By Matilda Martin, Tes.



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