Downing Street insists PM ‘still wants to level up’ country - despite A-Level system penalising poorest

PUBLISHED: 13:55 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:05 17 August 2020

Students from Codsall Community High School march to the constituency office of their local MP Gavin Williamson, who is also the education secretary. Photograph: Jacob King/PA Wire

Students from Codsall Community High School march to the constituency office of their local MP Gavin Williamson, who is also the education secretary. Photograph: Jacob King/PA Wire

Boris Johnson is committed to levelling up the country, a No 10 spokesman has said, despite the government facing criticism that students from more deprived areas have been most affected by the A-levels exam crisis.

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His spokesperson confirmed the prime minister is on holiday in Scotland despite the crisis over the A-level results

Amid speculation that a U-turn could be coming over the controversial way that results were awarded, a Number 10 spokesman said Johnson broke into his holiday to speak to education secretary Gavin Williamson on Monday morning.

“The prime minister spoke to the education secretary and senior officials this morning,” the spokesman said.

“We continue to work hard to come up with the fairest system possible.”


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He insisted there would be no delay to the announcement of GCSE results despite the confusion over A-levels, telling journalists: “We will not be delaying GCSE results”.

Number 10 also said Johnson had full confidence in Williamson and Ofqual chief Sally Collier.

His spokesperson added that the government was committed to levelling up the country.

Prime minister Boris Johnson; Molly Darlington/PA WirePrime minister Boris Johnson; Molly Darlington/PA Wire

“The prime minister has been clear of his ambition to level up across this country. That hasn’t changed.”

Shadow universities minister Emma Hardy said: “This chaos cannot continue. Even Tory ministers know that they are presiding over a historic injustice that risks robbing a generation of their future.

“Boris Johnson needs to listen to parents, teachers and young people – and change course.”

Acting Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey tweeted: “The PM must listen to the pleas of parents and students across the country whose futures risk being ruined by a ‘computer says no’ approach to their education. The only solution is to revert to the teacher-assessed grades for both A-levels and GCSEs.”

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