"it feels like all the work I have put in was for nothing.”
An A-Level student faces missing out on another year of going to university due to exams being cancelled due to the Coronavirus.
Shreya Sheth, aged 19, was due to retake two exams to secure herself better grades to study medicine. But now she may have to wait another year.
On March 18, 2020, education secretary Gavin Williamson announced that schools would close until further notice, with GCSE and A-Level exams cancelled in the summer term.
Ofqual guidelines showed that A-Level students would be given their predicted grades, however, this excludes private candidates like Shreya, a student at Parmiter’s School in Garston, Hertfordshire.
The guidelines state that predicted grades can only count as a final grade if the centre has an “established relationship” with the student to provide evidence of their work, something which Shreya’s private tutor cannot do.
Therefore she could miss out on another year of going to university.
Shreya said: “It’s quite worrying to be not sure on what the situation is.
“My main focus this past year has been revising my two A-Levels and getting better grades, so it was annoying to find out exams were cancelled.
“When they first announced it, I thought at least I would still be taken care of, but now it feels like all the work I have put in was for nothing.”
The student had been studying for hours each day to get into either the University of Manchester or the University of Southampton.
Shreya now faces uncertainty as Ofqual has not yet finalised its plans for exceptional students.
A consultation is collecting feedback from students to ensure a fair approach.
Shreya’s parents Chirag and Nisha have been trying to resolve the issue.
Mr Sheth explained: “The universities are really sympathetic, but they’re waiting for more Ofqual guidance.
“And then we go to Ofqual and UCAS and they recommend for us to contact the universities.
“What I want is for them to accept evidence from private tutors. Shreya changed a lot in the past year and has been working hard with her private tutor, they have all the evidence they need.
“The guidelines are a disadvantage to a particular set of students, it is grossly unfair for resit or home school students.”
An AQA exam board advisor responded: “We are hoping to be able to provide a grade to all candidates, but we can’t guarantee this will be possible.
“Once the consultation has been completed, we should have more information on the process and what will be available to any candidates whose centres are still unable to provide a grade.”
Hillingdon Times reported that Shreya’s parents went to Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden for help.
Mr Dowden, a former student at Parmiter’s School, said:
“I understand the difficult situation around private exam candidates, and I am keen to ensure that no child is penalised by this unprecedented health crisis.
“I have swiftly been in touch with the schools minister on Shreya’s behalf and will be monitoring this closely, including chasing the Department of Education – who I know are working hard to find solutions.”