Starmer: Government risks 'robbing a generation of their future'

The government risks “robbing a generation of young people of their future” unless it addresses concerns about unfairness in the issuing of exam grades this year, Sir Keir Starmer has warned.

The leader of the opposition has warned that “thousands of hard-working young people risk having their futures decided on the basis of their postcode”.

His comments come as A-level and GCSE students across England prepare to receive their grades, this year issued by schools and standardised by exam boards in lieu of formal tests.

Labour is concerned that pupils in certain schools will be unfairly treated because the historical outcomes of their institutions have been taken into account.

Ofqual, the exams regulator, has sought to reassure pupils that results this year will be “slightly higher than in previous years”, despite the fact school-provided grades have had to be hauled down by as much as 12 percentage points.

“It’s a blatant injustice that thousands of hard-working young people risk having their futures decided on the basis of their postcode,” said Starmer, who called on the government for a system of “credible appeals and resits” to help them correct their grades.

“Unless Boris Johnson acts, he risks robbing a generation of young people of their future.”

Labour is also calling for “urgent” clarity on which pupils are likely to be worst-affected by the standardisation model used. It comes after poorer pupils were disproportionately impacted in Scotland, where ministers today announced that they would withdraw all grades that had been downgraded as a result of moderation.

“Pupils and parents are rightly worried that years of hard work are about to be undone because a computer has decided to mark their child down,” Starmer added.

“It’s a blatant injustice that thousands of hard-working young people risk having their futures decided on the basis of their postcode.”