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Business group calls on government to support students as a “matter of urgency”

Askar Sheibani, chair of DBF

A North Wales business group echoed calls by education chiefs to ensure students are not disadvantaged by a standardised approach to exam marking.

DBF – previously known as Deeside Business Forum – has come out in support of a statement made by education portfolio holders representing the six North Wales local authorities calling on the Welsh Government to ensure A-level students do not miss out on further education or employment opportunities based on their results.

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, students in Wales were not required to sit final exams for A-levels as in previous years, with the Welsh Government stating learners would be “awarded a fair grade to recognise their work.”

The six North Wales education leaders have called upon Education Minister Kirsty Williams MS to undertake an urgent review and ensure that individual learners are not failed and that the right pupils receive the right grades.

Askar Sheibani, chair of DBF, said ensuring students were supported was vital for the region and sympathised with the hurt felt by families across North Wales.

He said: “We are calling on the Welsh Government to take action as a matter of urgency and follow Scotland’s lead to deal with this matter facing our young people.

“A common sense policy is required – not the findings of an algorithm – which has caused much anger and upset among students and parents that teachers’ views have not been taken into account.

“This is a system we must trust and respect.”

Ahead of this week’s expected GCSE results, Mr Sheibani highlighted how entry to apprenticeships could also be impacted and called on businesses in North Wales to “show leadership” throughout this extraordinary period.

He added: “We urge the business community to be more sympathetic towards learners during this unprecedented and exceptional time.

“This could have a massive impact on our local economy moving forward as young people make up the future of our workforce.

“We want to avoid a negative economic impact and ensure that our talented students are able to take the next steps in their careers that they deserve.”