Coventry University Group’s Provost welcomes U-turn and reassures students “we’re here to help”

Ian Dunn

Ian Dunn, Coventry University Group Provost

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Friday 21 August 2020

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Coventry University Group Provost, Ian Dunn has welcomed the government’s A level grading U-turn after encouraging the switch to the fairer use of Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs).

A level students in England will now be given grades developed by their teachers from their knowledge of the students, their mock examinations and coursework, rather than those moderated by an algorithm.

The news comes after almost 40 per cent of A level results were downgraded by exams regulator Ofqual.

Teachers' estimates will now be awarded to students unless the algorithm gave a higher grade.

The Coventry University Group, consisting Coventry University, Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU Scarborough and CU London, made an early decision to offer places taking into account teacher predicted grades.

The Provost, who is also chair of governors at the Sidney Stringer Academy in Coventry, a school that saw 60 per cent of its pupils downgraded by the calculated grade procedure, has recommended future students make contact about their options.

I’m delighted the government has made this U-turn. It is the right decision in such difficult and stressful times.

We have known all along that an algorithm, a statistical model, primarily designed to maintain a national picture, cannot take into account the individual characteristics of schools nor, more importantly, individual students.

Because of that, we felt there was a real unfairness in the system and we made a decision early on, before the results were published, to look at teacher assessed predicted grades alongside the calculated grades, because we trust the teachers to make an honest and fair assessment.

In some cases, they have spent up to seven years working with the young people and know them.

We talk about 40 per cent of grades being affected nationally, but on our doorstep, there are schools like Sidney Stringer where 60 per cent of young people were downgraded. I’m delighted they have now got the opportunity to have the grades their hard work and talent deserves.

Ian Dunn, Coventry University Group Provost

The change in approach also saw the government suspend the cap on student numbers in individual higher education institutions and the Provost says it will take time to work through the implications of this but stressed every case will be looked into as the Coventry University Group try and accommodate any student that has met the grades of their offer.

He also reassured students, parents and supporters that places are still available.

We are committed to doing everything we can to find places for all those who want to come to study with us and who have the grades to do so.

We are checking to ensure no one has lost out. We have always said that we are open to talking to individuals about their teacher grades if they had not got the calculated grades they expected. We have been doing that and we are very happy to continue those conversations.

What I would advise to young people, parents and guardians, and schools is to get in touch. Call us and talk to us. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality education and with an extensive UK wide provision across different levels of qualifications, Coventry University and CU campuses welcome conversations with both schools and students on how best to support them. 

Ian Dunn, Coventry University Group Provost

Our Clearing line +44 (0)24 7688 8888 or online chat are our starting points for prospective students and schools to get in touch.