Sir Peter Lampl, founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust, responds to new details from the Department of Education concerning awarding qualifications in the absence of exams.
“Predicted grades are inaccurate in the vast majority of cases, and particularly disadvantage high-attaining poorer students. So it is welcome that the Department for Education has introduced a combination of methods to award qualifications, which should mitigate some of the uncertainty of predicted grades.
“However, coursework has declined as a result of recent A-level reforms and so there will not be as much information available from this as in previous years.
“While all teachers want the best for their students, teacher assessments can unconsciously disadvantage those from poorer backgrounds.
“In these extraordinary times it is crucial that universities make greater use of contextual admissions. They need to think very carefully about increasing the emphasis given to personal statements, as these generally favour more advantaged students.
“There are no easy solutions to this unprecedented situation. But what is of upmost importance is that all students – including the poorest – leave school with qualifications that fairly reflect their achievements.”