In these uncertain and challenging times compounded by the worst recession in living memory we now have this fiasco of grading A and O Levels by using an algorithm, presumably following previous National & Regional Standards. Can someone please tell me what was wrong with the good old fashion method of relying on teacher predicted grades and if it requires a degree of independence how about another Head Teacher from a different Region making that final adjustment? I am glad to hear that the government made a u-turn on their position. It was interesting to see many business owners claiming that the results should not be appealed and that exam results are not the determining factor in one’s future, I feel that the injustice of how the results were first decided was not fair on the students that had worked so hard to achieve them and we must not downplay the importance of education and qualification and the part they play in one’s future career. In part, I agree with their sentiment, but only in so much as that in this modern world one can train and qualify in almost anything as an adult so there is hope for those that do not reach the expected levels as a youth. 

We are in unchartered territory so it’s the “new normal” we should be adopting not the old!

Thankfully, my Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Management learners that are now entering their EPA (End-Point Assessment) have a more robust method of attainment with 4 elements of assessment. An online knowledge test, an interview testing verbal competency, an assessment of their course work and again by ZOOM a discussion on their own professional and personal development. Yes, there is an external verifier for this Highfield Qualification but our recommendations count for a large part of the qualification, unlike the poor teachers whereby some 40% of predicted grades were downgraded. 

I suspect this had much to do with league tables or even a wish to improve an Ofsted classification, but we are not back to normal a way of life and until there is a vaccine – we never will be. And while I readily admit that with over 900,000 school children in this predicament and that the NVQ approach would require greater man-power, surely during lockdown teachers from other schools could have ratified these predicated grades on the evidence being available and not based on an algorithm. There is a lesson here in the adjudication of qualifications. 

As for the hospitality industry, our future looks as bleak as those school children downgraded – that is unless we fight or more appropriately appeal and hope that we are heard just like in the cases of the exam results. We must not give up and we need to challenge today’s new normal until it works for everyone. We improvise, innovate and even diversify. We change old habits and procedures because our customers are having to. 

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