A few thoughts on the Ofqual grilling by MPs this morning:
1. Nick Gibb was said to be receiving weekly briefings. Weekly! And he’s not inexperienced. He’s been schools minister for 8 of the last 10 years. If Gav didn’t know stuff, is Gibb to blame?
2. Ofqual say they offered a ‘multiple paper’ plan - where students could sit different exam papers at different times. (Eg if ill). Never heard this before - but it’s the most credible plan to ensure exams could go ahead next year, & *maybe* could have happened this year.
3. (However, I maintain the very different speeds at which schools were able to adopt distance learning would also have caused *outrage* if exams had gone ahead because revision experiences would’ve been extremely imbalanced. So I get why the govt didn’t go that route).
4. Ofqual did know who the outlier students were and exam boards were primed to contact schools/colleges to notify to appeal. Presumably this would’ve sped up the process & reduced upset. MPs never asked what stopped it? (Presumably DfE’s last-minute triple lock madness?)
5. Halfon pushed the comms point and was right to do so. There was no public leadership from Ofqual before or during the results period. Why wasn’t Sally Collier on TV apologising and reassuring people? She wasn’t at the hearing, so we don’t know.
6. Halfon also correct to point out that Ofqual’s independence now looks doubtful because they’ve said so many things were decided by DfE. Glenys Stacey is going to need to work hard on restoring it.
7. Finally, my own reflection on this mess is that no option Ofqual presented to the DfE was outrage-free. Every option would have been unfair on some pupils. Every option had costs. What doesn’t seem to have happened is enough communication or mitigation of these issues.
8. In part, IWAP is to blame. (My new shorthand for ‘it was a pandemic’). But the classic fiasco recipe of well-intended individual decisions which nevertheless added up to injustices, then got multiplied by secrecy, last-minute panics, & an arse-covering leadership vacuum.
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