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Education insights: Exam results U-turn, GCSE top grades and how the pandemic is affecting career plans

Little other than exam results has been spoken about in the last few weeks, and with many students losing out on spaces at their chosen universities due to the last minute U-turn decision we don’t expect the conversations to end any time soon. In this week’s Education insights, we’ve rounded up the latest news in the results day debacle as well as other updates to the education landscape.

A-levels and GCSEs: U-turn as teacher estimates to be used for exam results

This week’s headlines have been dominated by the government’s exam results U-turn following uproar after almost 40% of A-level results were downgraded. Exam regulator Ofqual used a formula based on school’s prior grades to calculate students’ results, however due to "significant inconsistencies" with the grading process it has now been decided that A-level and GCSE students will be given grades estimated by their teachers instead. Gavin Williamson apologised for “the distress this has caused young people and their parents but hopes this announcement will now provide the certainty and reassurance they deserve." Despite such a turbulent year, every young person who has taken part in an exam should feel immensely proud of what they have achieved.

GCSE results day 2020: U-turn means record top grades

The GCSE results released yesterday mark the highest pass rate and the highest proportion of top grades in England since the qualifications were reformed, as 76% of entries scored a C/4 grade or better in England, compared with 67.1% last year, and more than a quarter scored an A/7 grade or above compared with 20.7% in 2019. Ofqual had predicted that GCSE grades would rise overall by nine percentage points if teacher-assessed grading was used.

How the pandemic is affecting young people’s career plans

The coronavirus pandemic has had a serious and potentially detrimental impact on the lives of young people in the UK. The disruption to A-level results is one significant example, but is not the only way the future career prospects of young people have been affected. Those aged 16 to 24 have been among those hardest hit by the pandemic. They are most at risk of unemployment and face reduced opportunities for employment and training. There are many education programmes like LifeSkills created with Barclays that work to build employability skills and career prospects for young people, and in light of the negative effects COVID-19 has had on future plans, they will be more important now than ever!

Why digital upskilling must continue post-lockdown

As teachers prepare to return to school, there are many ways in which they will be helping students get over the past six months. Rightly, there will be an emphasis on wellbeing, and baseline assessments will help to determine where children are academically. However, there has been one positive that has come from the period of online teaching – teachers and students have had a crash course in educational technology and digital literacy. At Hopscotch, we’ve been championing EdTech for a very long time, helping many of our clients develop their online resources, platforms and tools to help teachers deliver an effective curriculum with the help of technology and are excited to see more teachers adopt this moving forward.

How to turn your room into a joyful workspace

When students applied to university, they probably imagined spending hours in the library surrounded by friends, or late nights in halls with flatmates. But unfortunately, that expectation is no longer likely to be a reality with social distancing and continuing lockdown measures, meaning come September students will be spending time on their own. This is why it’s essential to make sure your home-learning space works for you. The Guardian have put together a guide to doing just this, from standing desks to potted plants.

About the author

Eloise Turner

Eloise has gained lots of marketing and comms knowledge having worked with a range of organisations in the education, women’s health and global logistics industry. With experience in content creation, copywriting and social media she brings her passion for reaching the younger audience when working on projects for Sport England, LifeSkills created with Barclays and RSPCA.

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