Harrogate MP's message over A level results as national controversy grows
Andrew Jones, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP congratulated the town's students on their A level results but stressed how important it was for any youngsters disappointed by their grades to stay hopeful.
Speaking as controversy built at a national level over news that 36% of entries had a lower grade than teachers predicted and 3% were down two grades, in results for exams cancelled by the pandemic, Mr Jones told the Harrogate Advertiser: “Well done to everyone and I wish all the very best of luck to all students in whatever they decide to do in the future.
"We all know that it has not been easy for pupils and staff throughout the process of compiling these results.
"Reaching a stage where the vast majority of students have been able to be awarded grades has been significantly more difficult that in an ordinary year.
"It would be wrong not to acknowledge the very different circumstances compared to previous years and recognise the additional efforts staff have made over the last few months."
With The Sixth Form Colleges Association calling the system for calculating A-level grades, "flawed and unreliable" and the ASCL head teachers' union voicing "deep frustration" over the confusion caused by late changes to the results system, including the use of mock grades, Mr Jones said he could understand the feelings of disappointed students.
Mr Jones said: “It looks like the number of pupils getting into university will increase slightly this year.
"Even so, some will not have achieved the grades for which they hoped. They will understandably be disappointed but there are still many, many options open to them.
"They should take their time – along with their parents, teachers and careers service – to look at those options."
Overall, A level results across England, Northern Ireland and Wales, show higher A* and A grades this year than 2019.
Mr Jones said schools had had their work cut out during the pandemic but teachers had stuck to the task of supporting students in difficult circumstances.
Mr Jones said: “The jobs market is competitive and so good qualifications and appropriate skills give young people an enormous advantage.
"A levels are an important part of that mix and I would like to congratulate all those who have received their results today.
”I also thank the huge team of teachers and support staff behind every pupil.
"That team have educated and motivated the pupils during the critical years leading up to these exams."
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