Anxious BTEC students have been left in limbo after receiving blank results slips from their colleges this morning.
Essential final results needed to confirm university places and next steps should have been confirmed to students hours ago alongside results for other level 3 qualifications like A-levels and T Levels.
Pearson, the awarding body for BTECs, has been bombarded by worried BTEC students and their parents over the course of the day.
FE Week has received numerous reports from students and parents that received blank overall grade sections on their results slips.
One student told FE Week that they have even been trying to get a place through clearing as their UCAS status is still “awaiting confirmation” and they are worried that the admin blunder could lose them a place at university altogether. However without their final grade confirmed by the awarding body, they were advised by a clearing adviser that nothing could be done.
One college with affected students has published a statement explaining the situation.
Manchester principal defends students
The Manchester College said: “There has been a delay in receiving some of the BTEC National results from the awarding body, Pearson. This means that some students who say their BTEC exams in June and July this year will not have received their results this morning as originally scheduled.”
Principal Lisa O’Loughlin stated: “Our students have worked so hard over the last few years, in challenging circumstances and do not deserve to be facing this lack of clarity and uncertainty during what is already an anxious time.”
A spokesperson for Pearson told FE Week it has “awarded grades today to hundreds of thousands of BTEC students” but it is aware of “a very small percentage of BTEC students are experiencing a delay in receiving their results”, going on to appear to lay the blame at schools and colleges.
“BTECs are a modular qualification and in order for us to award an overall grade, we require unit grades to be provided for each module studied. Where unit information is missing, we are working closely with schools and colleges to resolve this and provide any outstanding results as soon as we can.”
Pressure mounts as Pearson process results ‘by the hour’
Pearson has refused to share the exact number of students affected, though tells us that results are being sent to students “by the hour”.
“We urge any student waiting for their results to please call us on 0345 618 0440 where our team is standing by to help. If you have a UCAS application the advice is to speak directly to your university first (or we can contact your university for you) and encourage them to follow UCAS advisory guidelines to hold offers until 7 September,” a spokesperson said.
There is a growing number of calls for a full investigation in to what’s happened from students, politicians and sector leaders.
In a letter sent to Pearson’s senior vice president for qualifications, Freya Thomas Monk, the Association of Colleges (AoC) has asked Pearson to be “open and clear about how many students have had and still have delayed results … to allow everyone to understand the scale of problem”.
David Hughes, the AoC’s chief executive, also calls for an open investigation to find out how so many students’ results have been delayed to “ensure this cannot happen again”.
Several politicians, including Labour’s shadow minister for further education and skills Toby Perkins, have taken the case to the education secretary.
In his letter to James Cleverly, Perkins says he is concerned that students haven’t been given a timescale to expect to see their confirmed final results. He also calls for “a full investigation in to what has happened and how such issues can be prevented from happening in the future”.
As well as calling for an investigation, the Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake has called on Cleverly to “put measures in place to mitigate any detrimental impacts to the students affected”.
An Oxfordshire parent tweeted about her experience at Abingdon and Witney College this morning, where her daughter was one of several students that wasn’t provided with their final grade and so can’t confirm their place at university.
“Still no news despite contacting Pearson direct, and Abingdon College who say they are chasing Pearson. This is absolutely crazy,” she wrote.
Abingdon and Whitney College principal Jacqui Canton apologised for the delay and said students should have been emailed their results this afternoon.
“Unfortunately, a small number of BTEC students received an incomplete results slip this morning but were emailed their full results this afternoon. We are sorry for the slight delay in being able to provide their full results and for any worry that this has caused but we are confident that everything is now resolved. If any students have outstanding queries they should contact the college exams team as soon as possible and we will provide any support that we can,” Canton told FE Week.
“Absolute joke or a results day for the BTEC kids. Six hours and still don’t my son’s results. Shambles,” a parent in Lancashire tweeted.
Another distressed student told FE Week they were cut off while on hold with Pearson.
And another student, also with a place at university at risk, told us that their university simply cannot accept their results without the overall grade – which was missing from their results slip – and told them to “hope for the best”.
Pearson is asking those affected to contact them on 0345 618 0440 and say they can contact universities on behalf of affected students to ask that they hold places until results can be released.
But Pearson is not alone in taking steps today to remedy delays to results.
Fellow awarding giant OCR has said students still waiting for results of its Cambridge Technicals qualifications will be regularly updated on the situation.
“While most results were delivered on time, we are sorry for a delay in issuing Cambridge Technicals for some students,” an OCR spokesperson said.
“In these exceptional cases, we are working with schools and colleges to deliver results as soon as possible and to keep UCAS informed where results are needed for university offers. We will provide regular updates to those affected”.
Exams regulator Ofqual said it is “monitoring Pearson and OCR to ensure they are taking all necessary steps to work with any affected schools and colleges to resolve these issues as soon as possible”.
A spokesperson added: “Where an exam board fails to issue results to students and the board is ultimately found to be at fault, we could choose to take regulatory action.”
Pearson’s public statement in full (via Twitter at 9.07pm on results day)
“We are aware that a very small percentage of BTEC students didn’t receive their results today. We’re working closely with your school or college to deliver your results to both you and the university you’ve applied for.
“If you’d like us to contact the university to let them know, we’ll be pleased to do so. We’re doing everything we can to ensure that you receive your result as soon as possible.
“For further support, please contact us on 0345 618 0440 (from 08.30am-6.00pm), or DM us via @PearsonBTEC on social media, or via our online portal for further support.”