Ofqual chief quits after A-Levels and GCSE U-turns

Ofqual boss Sally Collier; Youtube

Ofqual boss Sally Collier; Youtube - Credit: Archant

Ofqual boss Sally Collier has resigned in the wake of the A-Levels and GCSE results U-turn in England.

She will be replaced by her predecessor Dame Glenys Stacey, the exams regulator said.

In a statement on Tuesday Ofqual said Collier had decided 'that the next stage of the awarding process would be better overseen by new leadership'.

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It follows a government U-turn away from awarding students in England grades based on an algorithm which appeared to boost private schools' performance, and instead to award pupils their teacher assessed grades.

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The controversial algorithm had led to many students having their results downgraded earlier this month.

Ofqual said: 'The Ofqual Board supports Sally in this decision, and thanks her for her leadership and service over the past four years, which has included overseeing the successful introduction of an entirely new set of GCSEs and A-levels, and a new grading system.'

Dame Glenys, who was chief regulator between 2011 and 2016, has been asked to take on a temporary leadership role as acting chief regulator until December.

Ofqual said: 'She will be supported by a new committee of the Ofqual Board, which will include one or more of the current Ofsted Board members.

'This new committee will be chaired by Amanda Spielman and will oversee the work of Ofqual to the end of the year.

The education select committee has said Ofqual representatives will appear in front of MPs on September 2.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson, who also faced calls to resign over the exams debacle, thanked Collier for her work.

'Following Sally Collier's decision to step down as Ofqual's chief regulator, I'd like to thank her for the commitment she has shown to the role over the last four years and wish her well for the future.

Williamson said he looked forward to working closely with Ofqual's new leadership.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said the results U-turn was not Collier's fault 'alone' and ministers also face questions over their role.

He said: 'We are sorry that Sally Collier is standing down as chief regulator of Ofqual, and we wish her well for the future. We have worked well with her, and found her to be a highly intelligent, principled, and thoughtful person.

'This move follows the failure of the statistical model that led to this year's grading fiasco, but the fault is not hers alone.

'Ministers have questions to answer over the extent to which they scrutinised and challenged the methodology and reliability of the statistical model, particularly given the enormity of the task and the importance of getting it right.

'Schools and colleges put their trust in the government over this matter, dutifully followed the processes advised by Ofqual, and now feel badly let down by the ensuing debacle. They deserve some answers and so do their students.'

Barton has written to the education secretary requesting a inquiry into exam results.

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said: 'It is incredibly disappointing that Gavin Williamson has refused to take responsibility for the combination of initial school return failure and the more recent exam fiasco and has instead allowed to let someone else take the blame.

'He has lost the trust of students, parents and teachers who he failed to consult, leaving universities and colleges in chaos.

'Meanwhile the prime minister is still yet to apologise for the stress and harm his government caused to students, parents and teachers.

'Gavin Williamson is simply not the person the deliver a safe return to schools and must resign.'

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