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Top private schools manipulated grades during Covid crisis



Credit: Eltham College Facebook

Top independent schools have been accused of inflating students’ grades throughout the pandemic.

In a study by the Sunday Times, many of Britain’s independent schools were shown to have seen grades soar since the last time exams were public in 2019.

The study showed that North London Collegiate School, an all-girls independent school, doubled the proportion of A*s received by their A-Level students last year.

Similarly students at Edgware, an all-girls school where fees can reach £21,000, saw a rise in the amount of A* received by their pupils rise from 33.8% to an incredible 90.2%, the highest ever increase.

39.5% of students who attended private institutions received A*s last year, compared with only 16.1% in 2019.

As a result, it has been estimated that pupils at state schools have potentially lost out on prestigious university places as a result.

Chairman of the Education Committee Robert Halfon told the Times,  ‘private schools should not be baking ginormous rock cakes of grade inflation into the system and manipulating the system so that these teenagers can go to some of the top universities.

The education secretary and the independent exams regulator Ofqual should be investigating to understand why this rise in A* A-level grades occurred at these schools and whether there was manipulation of the system.

If manipulation has taken place, then far from creating a level playing field, yet another ditch has been created for state school pupils to fall into.’

There was a small inflation in the grades of state school students, yet it was considerably smaller than that of private institutions. Just two state schools made the top 50 list which ranked the schools with the biggest spike in A grade results.

One of the most shocking rises in results came from Eltham College, a private institution for boys in southeast London, where A* grades soared from 29.1% to 72.2%. However their Headteacher Guy Sanderson said this was down to the ‘bright pupils who prepared well for exams in difficult circumstance, and the highly capable and committed staff body…’

The extent of the grade inflation could be greater still, as top  institutions such as Eton have not yet published their exam results.

Due to the shocking figures, MP’s have called for an inquiry to be launched into England’s exam system, to find out why the grade inflation was allowed to go ahead, unchecked by regulators.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, spoke to Sky News about how booster jobs should allow future exams to be sat in person, ‘we are working with Ofqual to say “we do want to go back to pre-Covid grading and the robustness of the grading system” but we are going to do it in two steps.

‘We are going to go to the medium between the teacher assessment and the pre-Covid for this summer,  and then we will go to pre-Covid grading the year after.’

An Ofqual spokesperson commented, confirming that all schools were awarded higher A-level grades last year, not just private institutions.

He added that all headteachers submitted a formal declaration on the accuracy and integrity of grades and processes supporting them.



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Deborah James Awarded Damehood After Raising Over £3,000,000 for Charity



Deborah James has said she is ‘blown away’ after being made a Dame for her tireless campaigning for cancer charities.

The inspirational broadcaster and author announced earlier this week that she is receiving hospice care at home after stopping her cancer treatment, and has said she ‘could have weeks to live at most’.

In recent days, the You, Me & The Big C host has raised over £3million for charities that have helped her over the past five years, through her Bowelbabe Fund.

After calls for her to receive the Royal honour, it has been revealed that Deborah is now officially Dame Deborah James.

‘I don’t know what to say. I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured,’ she said reacting to the news.

She added ‘I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in.’

Her husband Sebastien Bowen, said the public support of the fundraiser has ‘brought a piercing ray of light and hope into this, the darkest of times’, adding that the Damehood is ‘so truly deserved’.

Downing Street said the Queen was ‘pleased to approve the honour of damehood’ be bestowed upon Deborah James.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Dame Deborah as an figure of inspiration to the country.

‘If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it,’ the leader said.

‘Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.’

Thank you for all your incredible work.

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EuroMillions: UK ticket holder claims £184m jackpot



One lucky ticket-holder’s life has changed forever after winning the £184million EuroMillions jackpot. It means they have become the biggest ever National Lottery winner, operator Camelot has said.

Whoever they are, they have knocked the anonymous winner of £170million in October 2019 off the top spot. They have also become the National Lottery’s 14th winner of more than £100million.

The winner, who is yet to be named, is also the second person in the UK to win the EuroMillions jackpot this year, after someone bagged £109million in February.

The winning numbers were 3, 25, 27, 28 and 29 – plus the Lucky Star numbers 4 and 9. One ticket matched all seven numbers to win £184,262,899.10.

Senior winners’ adviser for the National Lottery, Andy Carter said: “What an amazing night for one UK ticket-holder who has scooped the incredible £184million EuroMillions jackpot – they have become the UK’s biggest ever National Lottery winner.”

The claim will now go through a validation process to ensure terms and conditions are met and once the ticket has been validated the winner can choose whether or not to remain anonymous.

What would you do with all that money?

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Baby P’s Killer Mum Tracey Connelly Set for Prison Release after Judge Gives Green Light



Tracey Connelly, the mother of Baby P, who died after months of abuse, will be released from prison after the Parole Board rejected a Government challenge against its ruling.

The decision comes after Justice Secretary Dominic Raab appealed against the recommendation to free Tracey Connelly from prison.

Connelly was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2009 for causing or allowing the death of her 17-month-old son Peter at their home in Tottenham, north London, on August 3 2007.

Dominic Raab said the decision demonstrated why the system “needs a fundamental overhaul – including a ministerial check for the most serious offenders”.

Now 40, this was Connelly’s fourth parole review after she was released on licence in 2013 but recalled to prison in 2015 for breaching her parole conditions by “developing intimate personal relationships” online and inciting another resident at her accommodation to engage in “inappropriate sexualised behaviour”.

In a statement, the Parole Board said: “In summary, the judge has concluded that the panel did take into consideration all evidence mentioned by the application and made rational conclusions.

“The reconsideration decision clarifies that the weight given to the evidence given by the Secretary of States witnesses, who supported release, and the proposed external controls, was proportionate and the reasons were clearly outlined in the decision letter.

“The final ground on the rationality of the outcome was also rejected on the grounds of not reaching the threshold, as defined by law, for becoming unreasonable.”

The Parole Board, which is independent of government, received a formal request to review the decision to free Connelly last week.

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