The exam results fiasco is in all the papers at the moment. It all began back in March when Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, announced there would be no exams this year and that results would be based on teacher assessments, with “controls” in place.
Seemingly these controls were an algorithm that would take class ranking and the past performance of schools into account on any grading. The result? Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds were hit hard by the standardisation process, and the grades proposed by their teachers were overruled, and downgraded.
Figures from The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) showed that in England, a total of 35.6% of grades were adjusted down by one grade, 3.3% were brought down by two grades and 0.2% came down by three grades.
As students took to the streets, the government backed down and announced that A-level, GCSE and eventually BTeC students would be given the grades estimated by their teachers. However, now universities are faced with tens of thousands of A-level students who may now have the grades to take up their first-choice university offers, but the number of available places, at the top universities are limited, and those students who now have their higher grades could still be asked to defer if there is no space left on their chosen course.
It is a hot mess. As my teachers often used to say to me, “Could do better”.
In a previous News Round Up we reported how single use plastic bags would no longer be free, and “bags for life” were introduced. Sadly, plastic waste has actually risen as researchers from Greenpeace have estimated that around 1.5bn ‘bags for life’ have been sold. An average of 54 bags per year per household, which indicates that people are using them as disposable bags.
A study by the Environment Agency concluded that these plastic bags for life needed to be used at least four times to ensure they contributed less to climate change than the lighter, single-use bags.
Almost a decade after legal limits on air pollution were introduced in the UK, the latest figures published by the governmnt, (a legal requirement under the EU Ambient Air Quality directive), show that only seven out of 43 zones meet the legal requirements of air quality.
The worst offender is the Greater London area, where an estimated 2 million Londoners – including more than 400,000 children – are living in areas which exceed legal limits for air pollution,
The directive states that the annual average concentration level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which mainly comes from road traffic, must not exceed 40µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air), but the figures show that 83% of reporting zones still have illegal levels. However, the UK is leaving the EU, so there won’t be a problem anymore, will there.