tv BBC News at Six BBC News August 13, 2020 6:00pm-6:30pm BST
hundreds of thousands of students get their a—level results, amid controversy over the allocation of grades because of coronavirus. joy for some as top marks increase overall, but disappointment too, as more than a third of results are downgraded. a, b, c! i have spoken to a lot of people who say their grades have been lowered. i think it's really random and unfair. some headteachers say the changes to grades don't make sense. also on the programme... a record 1.8 million people injune had to wait longer than the 18 week target for nhs treatment, because of the coronavirus pandemic. "we weren t good enough."
the verdict of the head of network rail after yesterday's aberdeen derailment that killed three people. donald trump announces a historic peace deal between israel and the united arab emirates. here they are in close up for the first time in newsreels, the chindits. and 75 years after the end of the war againstjapan, we hearfrom one specialforces veteran, fighting behind enemy lines. and coming up on bbc news, england claim crucial wickets on a rain affected first day of their second test with pakistan in southampton. good evening and welcome to the bbc news at six. hundreds of thousands of students in england,
wales and northern ireland, have received their a—level and vocational qualification results today, after major disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. the cancellation of exams due to lockdown meant schools and colleges were asked to estimate grades, which were then filtered by exam boards, to ensure the results were not significantly higher or lower than in previous years. in all, 78% of a—level results were a—star to c, and 28% a—star and a. but there's controversy because the figures for england show that 39% of grades were marked down, while 2% went up. those students taking vocational qualifications, such as btecs, have been receiving estimated results in recent weeks, with the department for education saying the grades are "broadly in line with previous years". here's our education editor bra nwen jeffreys. top grades were up today, a small sweet spot to set against the many
marked down. this student has been rejected by all her universities. teachers estimated three bs at a—level. every one downgraded to c. i have spoken to a lot of people who say their grades have been lowered. it's random and unfair. we don't even know what it's based on. for others, relief, grades they needed, slightly more today getting their first choice of uni. it's gone really well, to be honest. i have done well for myself and i am proud. the others wondering whether to appeal. i know that in the box, i got a appeal. i know that in the box, i gota b appeal. i know that in the box, i got a b for biology, so i am a bit disappointed. but i can always appealfor that one disappointed. but i can always appeal for that one because disappointed. but i can always appealfor that one because i could get that b if i wanted. not everyone will go on to university. some heading to apprenticeships or vocational courses. but even so, being downgraded her.|j vocational courses. but even so, being downgraded her. i put in a lot of work. i worked from 8.30 till
five every day at college. so being downgraded feels like a kick in the stomach. this is a uniquely stressful a nd stomach. this is a uniquely stressful and uncertain results day for them. some will walk away with the results they hoped for. but for those who have been downgraded, there is a sense of being caught up in an impersonal system. while btec results here were stable, almost half the a—level estimates were downgraded. hundreds of mock results we re downgraded. hundreds of mock results were better, so staff may advise many to appeal. this is the coronavirus generation, the generation that has been impacted by changes in their gcses. so many different things, and the drip feed of co nsta nt different things, and the drip feed of constant changes in how the system might work through appeals. all of that has added to the emotional roller—coaster they have been through. what you wanted? yes. ata been through. what you wanted? yes. at a state sixth form, good news for some, but top grades for private
pupils have gone up more. labour says too many students have lost out. this has fundamentally failed. the government needs to rethink this. they shouldn't rule anything out, including the approach that was forced on the scottish government to get back to the assessments last week. they need an answer, individual appeals, they should waive the appeal fee. this has individual appeals, they should waive the appealfee. this has been a disaster. where pupils are disappointed, where they feel they could have done better, where they feel an injustice has been done to them, there is the possibility of appeal and they can resit. they can resit this autumn as well. universities have been busy confirming places, but appeal is based on mock results could change a lot. the uncertainty comes from the fa ct lot. the uncertainty comes from the fact that we might not know until the middle of september who is coming and who isn't, and that clearly is important for us in terms of class sizes, particularly in the new covid environment where we have
to be careful about that, but also with things like accommodation. this is what many students worked towards. for some, thejourney he started today. for others, stressful weeks ahead. this is a test of a system that has never been used before. so why have grades been moderated? well, before. so why have grades been moderated 7 well, past before. so why have grades been moderated? well, past research has shown that teacher estimates are rarely accurate and usually, they are overgenerous. but that doesn't diminish the blow for many individual students who are disappointed today. ministers are now relying on that appeals process, and that means the scramble for university places will go on for many weeks. branwen jeffreys, our education editor. the university admissions service, u—cas, says the number of british students who've already accepted places is up by almost 3% on this time last year.
nearly 359,000 students have confirmed their choice of university so far, including more than 7,500 who've found a place through clearing. 0ur education correspondent, danjohnson, has more details. you got an a? yes! oh, well done. a for achievement... oh, my gosh! ..means many students taking places as planned. but with the agony of some of these calculated grades comes the question of what next. i've never failed anything, actually. i'm not used to not getting into places. i think that's why it hit me so hard this morning when i opened it. abbie was one of those left disappointed. we've all been downgraded. i haven't got into uni because of it. and i'm supposed to be going to durham, and now i can't. so, i've got to look over options, i've got to appeal, go through clearing, resit my exams and we haven't been learning since march. leila also received unexpected marks. so, one grade above, but one grade below, so i was like,
and ucas had crashed and no one could get on, but luckily i've just seen online that i've still got in. so, i'm quite thankful. others are trying their chances through clearing. some with lower grades, some who did better looking to trade up. here at hull, the advice is that even those appealing should be able to start their course. it's at least a month away. there's a lot of time actually to maybe again undertake that appeals process, but still start university in september. so my advice would be, still secure that place. these calls, these decisions risk being delayed by the number of students who are unhappy with their grades this year. the number who are looking at appealing, which will take more time and could risk some students not being able to start in september. i got a u in biology... emily is one of those holding out for an appeal to get on her midwifery course. the university, is holding my place.
so when i appeal my grade, i'll see if i get in. they are more clearing places this year, and they're already being accepted. 0verall, university admissions are up, but after so much upheaval, some students will take a little longer to work out their next step. danjohnson, bbc news, in hull. in a moment we'll speak to our ireland correspondent emma vardy in east belfast but first to our wales correspondent hywel griffith, who's at a sixth form college in nantgarw, in south wales. yes, here in wales, more than 40% are predicted grades which have been downgraded. and while some are salivating tonight, many students and staff i have been speaking to today —— while many are celebrating, many feel genuine anger and anxiety. this sixth form colleges part of a national group that is already demanding an urgent review of the situation in wales, one of several concerns that they have is that stu d e nts concerns that they have is that students from the most disadvantaged areas of wales, those who receive free school meals, were more likely
to have had their grades adjusted. a head teacher at another local school told me today some of his brightest and best had been in tears today. he says it's not fair that their life chances have been changed by an algorithm. just over 2a hours ago, the welsh government came up with its own solution to this shared problem, saying students could fall back on their a.s. results from last year. it's a more important part of the a—level process here in wales. so it won't go to their marks, the as result would be adjusted, but we don't know when, so there is still huge uncertainty, shared also in northern ireland. it has been an unsettling day here for lots of students, with more than a third of grades lowered by northern ireland's exams body from those grades that we re exams body from those grades that were predicted by teachers. we have heard some unhappy stories of pupils who received results at several levels below the teachers' predicted grades. some schools have been calling that system erratic. we have
had northern ireland's exams body defending is working, if you like, saying it believes teachers can be overconfident when predicting grades and that if they had simply taken the teachers' predictions, it would have led to quite a jump in exam results overall, which would not have been a fair reflection. but it is really not a straightforward picture because some schools, like here, ashfield boys' high school where i have spent the day, say they think they have had some pretty fair results, results have come back in line with teachers' predictions. so it's not clear why some schools appear to have fared better than others. i think we will see people paying close attention to what the appeals process reveals in the weeks to come. emma, thank you, in belfast and hywel griffith in south wales, many thanks. let's talk to our political correspondent, chris mason who's at westminster. this has been a tough process for pupils, schools, teachers and the government. what has been the
westminster reaction to everything? as far as the picture in england is concerned, after nearly 40% of a—level grades were lower than teacher predictions, the government has been at pains to point out that in any normal year, most pupils do not get all of their predicted grades. they say the system of moderation was essential to try and be as fairas moderation was essential to try and be as fair as possible in very difficult circumstances. they consulted widely in building that model, including speaking to the teaching unions. but labour are angry. they say it is unfair, one frontbencher pointing to how well independent schools have done, and pointing to the fact that the model meant that if there were a small group of people doing a particular subject, the predictions from the teachers got greater weight and that that would often be the case in the private sector, where there may be small numbers of people is doing each subject. the blunt truth of results day 2020 as this. either the computer model has turned out the hollow relief that you managed to get the result that you need, or has kicked you and you feel that you have been cheated. in conclusion, i
think we can conclude a very simple thought — exams might be terrifying. not doing them is worse. chris mason at westminster, thanks. public health england say they won't be publishing information on uk coronavirus cases today due to technical problems. the measure of deaths has changed today. it now only covers those who died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. public health england say they won't be publishing information on uk coronavirus cases today due to technical problems. after reviewing the way deaths have been reported, no new death figures have been published at this stage today. the pressures heaped on the nhs in england by the coronavirus pandemic, have been highlighted by new figures, showing a record 1.8 million people injune, having to wait longer than the 18 week target, for routine treatment. more than 50,000 have waited over a year, and there's real concern cancers are being missed or diagnosed late, because urgent referrals are down more than 20 percent injune, compared to last year.
our health editor, hugh pym, reports now on some of the ways the nhs, is trying to tackle the backlogs. remember the nightingale hospitals? this one is in exeter, with more than 100 beds. but with no coronavirus patients right now, part of the site is being put to a different use, patients coming in for scans for a range of conditions. so the scan will take three orfour minutes. carol has lived with cancer for several years. this scanner is for a possible complication which doctors wants checked out. are you 0k? she says it's a much easier process than her usual hospital appointments. you go into a separate waiting room, but you never know who's going to get called first because you don't know, everybody's having different scans. i sat on the chair in there for about two minutes and then i got took in. it was brilliant. it gives us a really good environment to provide high—quality care. the medical director told me they were ready to expand services for cancer patients and others needing scans. we'll be looking at how can use
the facilities to help other groups of patients like the people who are having scans, possibly other sorts of investigations and interventions, so that we're sure we get good value about of the investment that has been made in the region. but nationally, there are concerns about cancer treatment delays, with charities arguing that there's an alarming backlog. we are seeing positive work done in some local areas or some parts of cancer services, but that does not equal the kind of national emergency response we need to meet what is a ticking cancer time bomb because of undiagnosed and untreated cancer. here they are doing what they can to help, but they can't lose sight of what the hospital is there for. this was the last of the nightingale hospitals to be completed. so far it hasn't cared for any patients with covid—19, but intensive care wards like this with all their facilities are ready, should there be another surge in the number of patients seriously ill with coronavirus. it's a difficult time
for the nhs in england, trying to diagnose and treat the patients whose care was delayed, and at the same time keeping wards and intensive care units like this free for what might be a second covid—19 peak sometime in the winter. hugh pym, bbc news, exeter. more than 290 people linked to a food factory in northampton, have tested positive for the coronavirus. the company, greencore, employs more than 2,000 people making sandwiches for marks and spencer. local authorities say the company had introduced highly effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus. greencore said production at the plant was "continuing as usual" and it had no concerns about its products. borisjohnson says the uk must be "absolutely ruthless when deciding whether travellers returning from countries with rising rates of coronavirus infections should be asked to quarantine. asked whether france will be removed from the list of countries that are exempt from the quarantine measures, the prime minister said
he would be looking at the data, but that drastic measures could be taken even with our closest and dearest friends." in what's being seen as an historic agreement, israel and the united arab emirates have reached a deal to normalise relations. donald trump made the announcement at the white house saying israel would now suspend plans to further annex parts of the occupied west bank. 0ur north america editor, jon sopel, is at the white house. israel and the uae have been in talks for years, but was a deal in the offing? this has come as something of a surprise as not since 1979 when israel struck a deal with egypt and then in 1994 with jordan as israel managed to make a comprehensive peace deal with another arab country, so, yes, this is historic and a major diplomatic window for donald trump and benjamin netanyahu, window for donald trump and benjamin neta nyahu, the window for donald trump and benjamin netanyahu, the israeli prime minister. the oldest saying in diplomacy is that my enemy's enemy
is my friend. both countries wanted to put pressure on iran and that will happen now and they also want to trade more. but donald trump was already looking to the future when he made his announcement. by uniting two of america s closest and most capable partners in the region, something which said could not be done, this deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, a more secure and more prosperous middle east. so let's see what happens in the future. the palestinians will be disappointed by this, and if i could talk to the domestic audience about what has happened here in america with this announcement, israel has strong support amongst evangelical christians and thejewish community and with two and a half months to go until the election, this announcement today won't do donald trump any harm. the time is 6:18pm. our top story this evening. hundreds of thousands of students get their a—level results, amid controversy over the allocation of grades, because of coronavirus. still to come. wickets fall on the first day