Protesters in Newcastle call for Gavinson's resignation following A-level results fiasco

Ella Williams reports on the protest following the A-level results fiasco

Ella Williams
19th August 2020
Angry students took to the streets of Newcastle yesterday to demand Gavin Williams resigns after his handling of A-level results.

Protesters that gathered by Grey’s Monument carried signs that read “Sack Tory Exam Cheats” and “Downgraded by a system that needs an upgrade”. 

The demonstration followed the Government’s dramatic U-turn to use centre-assessed grades to determine results, rather than those moderated by Ofqual’s controversial algorithm.

One young person who spoke at the rally told protesters that the Government “are mistaken to underestimate the power of young people”. Charlie, a GCSE student, said that the scrapping of the algorithm was “too little and too late”. 

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne and former Labour party chairman Ian Lavery also took to the stage at the rally. 

Speaking to protesters, Lavery said that he would “not accept an apology from Gavin Williamson” and that “he should have the decency and temerity to resign”. 

GCSE student and MP Ian Lavery speaking at the protest

The Government U-turn, which was instituted 4 days after results day, has led to widespread questions as to how Universities will deal with the new influx of students. 

In a statement issued by Newcastle University, they reassure prospective students “we are working to accept all students who meet the terms of their original offer”. However, they also recognise that in subjects that are capped externally they may not be able to accept everyone who now meet the grade requirements.

It remains unclear as to how vocational qualifications such as BTECS will be affected by the U-turn.

Charlotte Paige Boulton and Sian Dickie, NUSU's Postgraduate and Education Officers attended the rally. Charlotte said: “It was great to see so many young people out protesting and fighting for fair education for all.

"The U-turn is hugely welcome but it came too little too late, with many students still disadvantaged because of the governments actions.

"I hope this inspires further protests and student action until we have a fair education for all students no matter where they come from”.

Sian told the Courier: "As Education Officer, I felt the need to represent the prospective students who are or were going to attend Newcastle University.

"The speeches that were heard yesterday by the youth activists in our city demonstrate the absolute failure of the Conservative government.

"The protest was incredibly inspirational and I am so pleased that Newcastle is working hard to give as many people as possible a place at our University."

Images: Ella Williams

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