A company run by long–term associates of Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings has been working behind the scenes with the exams agency Ofqual on its disastrous strategy for determining A-level results, the Guardian can reveal.

Public First, a policy and research firm owned by James Frayne and Rachel Wolf, who both formerly worked for Gove, has been involved on the project with Ofqual since June after being granted a contract that was not put out to competitive tender.

Details of the contract have not been made public and Ofqual declined to say how much public money had been spent hiring Public First.










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Northern Irish results improve

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At Burnage academy for boys in Manchester, pupils have begun opening their GCSE results, many of which are in line with last year’s results despite teacher-assessed grades being awarded.

Among them, 16-year-old Mohammed Atif, who achieved eight 9s (A*s) and one 8 (A), said he was conscious that because results were not achieved based on exam results, they could be lowered in value in the minds of future educators and employers.


I think a lot of people are worried because we’re the Covid year of results, that might downgrade the value of our results. It’s a bit sad but, at the same time, they must understand that it was an odd year that we’ve been through so I don’t think that should hinder the value of grades that much.

Mohammed is planning to attend Manchester grammar school to study biology, chemistry and maths, with hopes of going to university to study medicine.

The academy’s deputy headteacher, Helen Carter, said that, while this results day felt a bit “flat” after the debacle that ended with the government’s U-turn on Monday, she was delighted for students.


I’m pleased that we’re able to give the centre-assessed grades because I was very fearful that the algorithm was going to be detrimental. We’re teaching pupils, many of whom are from deprived areas and postcodes, and that would have had a really negative impact. That’s not what the boys would’ve deserved.

Amy Walker
(@amyrwalker)

Wajahat Khan, 16, achieved seven 9s (A*s) and two 8s (As) after pupils were given teacher assessed grades. “Our teachers have known us for two years and know what to expect of us,” he said. His dad, taxi driver Farooq Shah, said there’ll be celebrations in the house all week. pic.twitter.com/tjt7ynrRvT


August 20, 2020

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Top GCSE grades surge to record high in England

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