Bridget Phillipson: 'The Conservatives have failed our children yet again' as A-Level grades fall in the North East

This week thousands of young people received exam results again for the first time since 2019.

After two years of stress over algorithms and which pieces of classwork were used as the basis of centre-assessed grades, students, parents and teachers are back to the familiar world of exams.

Young people should be incredibly proud of their results, they worked hard in exceptional circumstances and are rightly thrilled to receive grades that enable them to progress onto their next steps, whether university, further education or into employment.

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Yet this has also been a challenging year for young people. They were told before they took their exams that grades would be going down, following the bumper sets of results students received during the pandemic.

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson
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They were told that with more 18-year-olds across the country, competition for university places would be fierce.

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The drop we’ve seen in results this week has not been felt equally. Young people in the North East have seen their grades fall faster than those across the south of England. Students studying A-levels in our region were a third less likely to receive an A* grade than students in London.

Young people here are just as capable, just as talented - but twelve years of Conservative governments have held back our region and our kids.

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Last summer, Labour set out an ambitious Children’s Recovery Plan which would have delivered small group tutoring through schools and colleges, after school clubs and professional mental health support for all young people.

But the Conservatives have failed our children yet again.

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Fewer than one in five students who sat exams this summer have received any help from the government’s disastrous tutoring programme which has wasted public money and failed to reach pupils.

This is the culmination of twelve years of neglect for our children’s education. Labour is determined to turn that around. We would be ending tax breaks for private schools to ensure every child gets the opportunity of a brilliant state education.

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Young people should be proud of their results and all that they’ve achieved this year, but they need a government that will put them and their futures first – that’s the fresh start Labour will deliver.