College hotline helps BTEC students as results are delayed

PUBLISHED: 14:55 20 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:45 20 August 2020

Alan Pease, deputy principal of Suffolk New College, which has set up a hotline to help BTEC students Picture: CRAIG SHIMMON

Alan Pease, deputy principal of Suffolk New College, which has set up a hotline to help BTEC students Picture: CRAIG SHIMMON

Craig Shimmon

Suffolk New College has set up a special hotline to reassure students worried about the wait for their delayed BTEC results.

Students at the Ipswich-based college had been expecting to receive their results today, along with those studying GCSE courses.

But at the last minute the exam board told schools and colleges not to release BTEC grades - adding to the stress on youngsters who have not been able to sit exams as normal.

These grades were not included in the original U-turn over A-levels and GCSEs, which saw the controversial algorithm system replaced with teacher-assessed grades.

But yesterday - with just hours to go until results day - examiner Pearson said it would regrade BTECs to “address concerns about unfairness”.

Deputy principal of Suffolk New College, Alan Pease, said: “In relation to the BTEC announcement yesterday, we have created a call centre with 14 staff members to field calls from concerned students and parents.

“We are totally focussed on our learners and it’s essential that we are the calm and reassuring voice in all of this.

“Our message is that we are here for you and if you got top results, this grade will not change.

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“If you didn’t, your results will only go up. And whatever happens, we will help you work out your next step. If you want to progress educationally, we will get you on a course that is right for you.”

The number to call for the hotline is 01473 382200. The phone line is available for students studying at all the college’s sites, including Suffolk Rural (formerly Easton and Otley College). However, for specific advice for Suffolk New College On The Coast in Leiston, the number to call is 01728 642900.

MORE: GCSE updates from schools across Suffolk

One Sixth Form College in Ipswich is also offering phone advice to BTEC students.

Vice principal George Chittock-Nash said: “We have a team of staff who are currently fielding calls relating to BTEC results, enrolments and university places - and the dedicated team is also offering general support and advice to students and parents.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged by this and that they receive the best possible outcomes in terms of what they do next.” The number to call for advice from One staff is 01473 556600.

Nationally, around 200,000 Level 1 and 2 entries had been due to receive grades today, with 250,000 Level 3 grades awarded last week.

MORE: Twins overjoyed with incredible GCSEs

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, called the move “upsetting and chaotic”.

She said: “The government must put an end to this incompetence and work quickly to ensure every young person gets the grades they deserve to move on to the next stages of their lives.”

Schools minister Nick Gibb apologised to students this morning for the “pain and the anxiety” they felt before this week’s exam grading U-turn.

He said he is hopeful that students will get their BTEC results next week.

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