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The veteran BBC presenter accused the Prime Minister of making a misleading statement about how “robust and dependable” the results were despite thousands of students being up in arms. Anger was sparked last week when many students saw their results downgraded by a new moderation process brought in after the pandemic forced exams to be cancelled.
Nearly two in five (39.1 percent) of teachers’ estimates for students in England were brought down by one grade or more by an assessor’s algorithm.
This led to many youngsters being denied places at their university of choice as around 280,000 pupils were affected.
Amid the nationwide uproar, Mr Neil attacked the Prime Minister over his upbeat statement, in which he praised the new results process.
Mr Neil tweeted: “Boris Johnson four days ago: ‘Let’s be in no doubt about it, the exam results that we’ve got today are robust, they’re good, they’re dependable for employers.’
“Not a single claim in that sentence was true, was it Prime Minister?”
On Monday Education Secretary Gavin Williamson apologised to frustrated students, teachers and parents.
He confirmed a Government U-turn by saying that A-level and GCSE results will be teacher assessed.
The U-turn will mean students will take whichever is higher of the grade their school or college estimated or the moderated grade.
Mr Williamson said: “We now believe it is better to offer young people and parents certainty by moving to teacher assessed grades for both A and AS level and GCSE results.
“I am sorry for the distress this has caused young people and their parents but hope this announcement will now provide the certainty and reassurance they deserve.”
Twitter users were quick to back up Mr Neil in his latest outburst, with many saying Mr Johnson should not have defended the new results system so rigorously in the face of so much criticism.
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One person tweeted: “He had absolutely no idea what the methodology was.
“He is a good-time PM – not a leader.”
A second wrote: “He does lots of things without a thought for the consequences, not just talk.”
And yet a third said: “What you have to understand is that Johnson doesn’t care whether what he says is true or not, and neither does his target audience.
“He’s not addressing people like you and me who do care.”
Another person said to Mr Neil: “Your mistake there was expecting the truth at all.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer slammed the Conservative Government over the results row, saying it had “months to sort out exams and has now been forced into a screeching U-turn after days of confusion”.
He said “the Tories’ handling of this situation has been a complete fiasco” and said Mr Johnson’s had shown a “failure to lead”.
GCSE results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are due to come out on Thursday.
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