A-level and GCSE students in England will be given grades estimated by their teachers, rather than by an algorithm, after a government U-turn.

It follows uproar after about 40% of A-level results were downgraded by exams regulator Ofqual, which used a formula based on schools’ prior grades.

GCSE results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland come out on Thursday.

Ofqual chair Roger Taylor and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson apologised for the “distress” caused.

Mr Williamson said students and parents had been affected by “significant inconsistencies” with the grading process.

In a statement, he acknowledged the “extraordinarily difficult” year for students, after exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said No 10 had worked with Ofqual to design “the fairest possible model” but it had become clear that the process of awarding grades had resulted in “more significant inconsistencies than can be resolved through an appeals process”.

“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,” said Mr Williamson

The decision by the UK government brings England in line with the other UK nations.

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