For the government not to see the mess coming with exam results and admissions months ago as we sank deeper into the pandemic crisis is unforgivable. They decided that this year’s school exams shouldn’t not place, immediately taking a course of great risk and peril. This week it feels as if they never gave this any thought since that decision was made, and never considered the issues that might arise from people having their futures decided by an algorithm.

The SNP administration has just suffered through the same debacle, so the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, had a blaring warning just last week of the impending political fallout. The “triple lock” was announced, allowing students to choose between their awarded grades, their mocks, or sitting their exams in the autumn. Sounds almost fair under the circumstances, but the reality is anything but.

The results were generated by calculating a curve using past results, and then students are positioned on the curve by data from teachers. The algorithm had been tested by calculating rankings for last year, but they used actual results for the ranking data as there was no teacher data. This means the test is completely irrelevant as it uses actual ranking data, not teacher’s opinions. This method is clearly flawed, and the algorithm worked badly.

Nearly 40% of A-Level results have been downgraded from teacher predictions in England. Across the nation aspiring young people are feeling indignant and outraged. Sixth form and Further Education colleges that have lost out because greater weight was given to teacher assessments in smaller cohorts. Surprise, surprise it’s the private schools reaping the benefits of a huge increase in grade A and above.

The rigged system becomes a little more rigged. The Tory party once again conforms to its stereotype. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds lose out and the rich prosper. The government’s “levelling up” agenda is in tatters as the pandemic has already widened the effects of the class divide. If the government is serious about building a fairer country and wants to win the next election, it needs to reconsider.

This is a disaster. All morning yesterday Tory MPs were deleting tweets that were critical of the Scottish government’s handling of the same predictable mess. Many know deep down that Boris must follow Nicola Sturgeon in performing a U-turn. Better yet (especially for him) he should send out Williamson to make that humiliating climb-down, after personally ruling out what must be done. The government must agree to accept teacher estimates of scores for those that were downgraded.

People will say the results are therefore inaccurate and unfair. Newsflash, the results students have been given are inaccurate and unfair. They didn’t even get to sit their exams. The government could have been far more imaginative in how they could have conducted exams in a safe and organised way despite the coronavirus. Now here we are.

This is an unprecedented situation which the government has mishandled from the very beginning. We need to give this cohort a break because they have been disadvantaged enough. Employers will already perceive this year’s results differently to other years, so Gavin Williamson’s argument that it’s unfair to the classes of 2019 and 2021 is weak.

Trust teachers for once. I know after years of getting a little overly hysterical about the issue of grade inflation some cynics tend to think teachers just make things up and want to fiddle the system to make themselves look good. It’s an unfair perception. For the most part they are hardworking, skilled professionals that know their students better than anyone else.

Yes, exam results often fall short of estimations due to the conditions and nature of exams, but there were none held, so an ideal situation does not exist.

Teachers have reams of data and knowledge of their students accumulated over a long time teaching and assessing them. They have the ability accurately to estimate their attainment level, if not how much they will revise or how they cope with the exam on the day.

The estimations are not just finger in the air guesses or attempts to game the system. Accepting their estimations because a global pandemic disrupted the academic year isn’t the end of the world, it really isn’t. It is not that big of a deal. There are far bigger challenges than A-Levels ahead that will separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

From a political point of view the Conservative government is helping the country become a little more unequal and motivating a generation of young people to oppose them vehemently. Sir Keir Starmer said: “For too long, the Tories have considered the needs of young people as an afterthought when their needs should have been central.” He’s singing all the right notes. Without a U-turn the Labour Party is going to have a field day.

These students will have long memories and they will be lost to the Tory party. As will their furious parents of course. In fact, is there a single section of society that the government hasn’t angered or frustrated in this foul year of our Lord 2020? I think probably not. There is only one way for the government to respond to the vitriol heading their way – admit they were wrong.