Ofqual to face grilling by MPs over exams fiasco

Leaders from exams regulator Ofqual will appear in front of MPs next week to answer questions about this year’s exam results fiasco – but outgoing boss Sally Collier will not be with them.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, will also “likely” face questions about the government’s handling of the crisis when he appears in front of the education committee later in September.

Collier, who is stepping down as chief regulator, had been due to appear at next Wednesday’s hearing alongside Ofqual chair Roger Taylor.

But the committee has announced today that Taylor will now be joined by Dr Michelle Meadows, Ofqual’s executive director for strategy, risk and research and Julie Swan, the regulator’s executive director for general qualifications.

Robert Halfon, the committee’s chair, said he “had hoped to have” Collier at the hearing, “as she had agreed [to appear] a few days before her resignation”.

“But I understand due to personal reasons she is unable to attend,” he told FE Week.

It comes after the government was forced to U-turn last week and award pupils their centre-assessment grades for GCSEs and A-levels after a furious backlash over the way calculated grades were standardised by exam boards.

Now senior officials will face a grilling by the education committee in a hearing that will focus on “errors made in the process of awarding this summer’s exam grades and how students who have been adversely impacted are now being supported”.

MPs are also likely to ask “what steps are being taken to support students, schools and colleges who have lost out because of the standardisation model and subsequent U-turn, and about lessons learnt to ensure a fair system should exams be cancelled in the future”, a committee spokesperson said.

Williamson is due to appear in front of the committee on September 16.

Ofqual announced earlier this week that Collier would be departing following the exams fiasco. She will be replaced on an interim basis by Dame Glenys Stacey, her predecessor.