Harlow Labour question level of scrutiny provided by Robert Halfon as Chair of the Education Select Committee in the wake of A Level and GCSE results chaos.

Harlow Labour have sent a letter to Robert Halfon MP asking six key questions with regards to the government’s u-turn on A level and GCSE results. As chair of the education select committee, Robert Halfon has a key role in scrutinising education policy and it seems that he failed to properly scrutinise his own government’s policy of downgrading and their chaotic handling of A Level and GCSE Results.

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Robert Halfon MP,

Although, we welcome the Government’s U-Turn, we are deeply concerned by the Government’s handling of A– level and GCSE results.

After your Prime Minister, Education Secretary and your party had promised and talked of “levelling up” attainment for young people across the country– you and your Party seemed to be using the COVID-19 crisis to kick away any remaining ladder of opportunity.


We are pleased that the Conservative party have finally listened to students, parents and teachers however, we have crucial questions to put to you over your scrutiny of these plans as Chair of the Education Select Committee.


1. Did you as chair of the education select committee scrutinise your Education secretary, Ofqual or the algorithm or downgrading itself, at any point? it is clear that larger class sizes were disproportionately downgraded. Something that was set to happen again with GCSE’s until the U-turn.


2. If so, What were your conclusions as chair and that of your committee? it seems difficult to conclude anything other than the system was greatly flawed and skewed towards those from more privileged backgrounds.


3. If there was no scrutiny from your committee, why did you not feel it necessary to scrutinise these plans? You seemed more than willing to use your committee back in June to attack teachers and their unions over the Government’s complete failure to return children to school, why were you not as enthusiastic to scrutinise the Government’s plans for A Level and GCSE results?


4. What action do you intend to take to scrutinise the Education Secretary about downgrading and do you intend to grill him as much as you did the teaching unions on how this system was allowed to go ahead given that it was going to greatly stunt the opportunities of our young people, in favour of a system that respected class and privilege over skill and attainment?


5. What will you be doing to help those A-Level students who have been refused a place at their chosen universities and for whom this U-turn has come far too late to change their circumstances?


6. What is the Government and the education select committee going to do to reassure universities, colleges, employers and apprenticeship providers that student grades are an accurate reflection on them after Conservative cabinet members have exhausted so much energy over the media airwaves convincing people that teachers were not up to the job of predicting the grades of their own students?




Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of Harlow Council
Councillor Eugenie Harvey, Deputy Leader of Harlow Council
Councillor Jean Clark
Councillor Michael Danvers
Councillor Bob Davis
Councillor Jodi Dunne
Councillor Tony Durcan
Councillor Tony Edwards
Councillor Margaret Hulcoop
Councillor Shannon Jezzard
Councillor Frances Mason
Councillor Stefan Mullard
Councillor Danny Purton
Councillor Lanie Shears
Councillor John Strachan
Councillor Emma Toal
Councillor Chris Vince
Councillor Nancy Watson
Councillor Phil Waite
Councillor Mark Wilkinson

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