A-levels and GCSEs: Student tells minister ‘you’ve ruined my life’

A student rejected by her chosen university after her A-levels were downgraded has told schools minister Nick Gibb, “you’ve ruined my life”.

Nina Bunting-Mitcham, speaking on the BBC’s Any Questions, said her marks were three grades lower than predicted.

And talking to the BBC on Saturday, she said that getting three Ds had made her feel like life “was completely over”.

The government says it will cover the cost of appeals after 280,000 grades in England were downgraded.

With school exams cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s grades in England were awarded using a controversial modelling system, with the key factors being the ranking order of pupils and the previous exam results of schools and colleges.

In England, 36% of entries had grades lower than their teachers predicted and 3% were down two grades, prompting anger and distress among schools, colleges and students.

Nina told the BBC her teachers were “utterly shocked” on learning her predicted results of ABB – in biology, chemistry and psychology – had plummeted.

The pupil at New College, Stamford, confronted Nick Gibb on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions on Friday.

“It’s got to be a mistake, I have never been a D-grade student,” she told him.

“I feel my life has been completely ruined, I can’t get into any universities with such grades or progress further in my life.”

“You have ruined my life.”

Responding to Nina, Mr Gibb said it was “rare” for students to be downgraded three grades, adding it “should not have happened”.

“It won’t ruin your life, it will be sorted, I can assure you.”

He admitted to “imperfections somewhere in the system” and said challenged grades would be addressed “swiftly”, by 7 September at the latest.

Ministers are expected to set up a taskforce, led by Mr Gibb, to oversee the appeals process.

Image copyrightPA MEDIAPeople take part in a protest outside in London over the government"s handling of A-level results.
Disappointed students protested in Westminster on Friday

Speaking to the BBC on Saturday, Nina said she felt “encouraged” by the minister’s words, but believed his statement contradicted previous assurances by the government that the grading system was “robust”.

She said she had begun the appeals process, but it was still not clear whether revised grades would be based on mock exams or teachers’ predictions – and the Royal Veterinary College would only keep her place open until 31 August.

“They [the government] need to believe in the teachers,” she said. “The teachers are professionals. They see students every day, they talk to them, they know them personally… They are the best people to predict the grades.” [ . . . ]

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One thought on “A-levels and GCSEs: Student tells minister ‘you’ve ruined my life’

  1. It is absolutely terrible, and thinking of it, students worked incredibly hard throughout their course in order to have decent predicted grades, which are needed if they want to go to university.

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