Student left voicemail on Education Secretary’s mobile about exams

5 May 2021

By Lauren E. White

If you cast your mind back to last summer, you will remember weeks of fury from students, their teachers and parents about the exams fiasco.

Well, it turns out that one student used some pretty forward-thinking initiative, found Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s phone number on Google, and left him a voicemail.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Sarah Vine (columnist and wife of Michael Gove, a government minister) said that the student left Mr Williamson some feedback on his policy for grading exams.


Recommended Reading: Gavin Williamson reveals 2021 exam changes

“Last year, when the A-level fiasco was happening, the daughter of a friend of mine decided to phone Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to tell him how she felt about having her results ruined by an algorithm. It took no time at all to find his number on Google, whereupon she left him a tearful voicemail message,” Ms Vine said.

Students were furious last year after their exams were cancelled due to Covid and replaced with computer algorithms calculating their grades based on the overall historical performance of their school.

It meant students missed out on university places as their grades were lower than anticipated, and has led to others re-sitting their final year of A Levels. Analysis also showed that private schools benefitted the most from the algorithm method.


The story came to light after it was revealed that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have compromised his own and national security by having his mobile number available online for fifteen years.

This also comes after concerns about who has close and personal access to Mr Johnson, after revelations about text messages to “fix” tax rules in exchange for potential ventilators with Sir James Dyson came to light.

It was reported that the PM had been asked to change his number but declined to do so. Downing Street denied this claim.

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