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Live Reporting

Natalie Grice and Ben Frampton

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    We are bringing today's live page to a close. Thanks for joining us this afternoon. Here's a reminder of some of the key points:

    • Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams "apologised unreservedly" to A-level students for the confusion and distress caused by downgraded results last week, which were replaced on Monday with teacher-assessed grades
    • A coronavirus control plan has been published by the Welsh government laying out the levels of intervention it will take to manage the virus as autumn and winter arrive
    • The head of exam body WJEC, Ian Morgan, defended the original awarding of grades using an algorithm which he said would have kept grade increases lower, whereas now grades such as A*s had gone up by as much as 6.9% more than last year
    • He also said grade inflation from this year could have an impact on next year's A-level students
    • All of Wales' universities have now said they will honour places offered to students on the basis of their original predicted grades.

    We'll be back for the weekly government coronavirus briefing next Tuesday. Have a good evening.

  2. 'Five key areas' for coronavirus control plan

    Five key areas will be used in managing coronavirus as Wales moves into autumn and winter.

    The Welsh government published its Coronavirus Control Plan on Tuesday, saying it will be a partnership between local government, health boards, businesses and the public.

    The areas are:

    • Prevention
    • New cases and clusters
    • Incidents and outbreaks
    • Local and regional measures
    • All-Wales measures

    The plan represents an escalating level of response, should prevalence of the virus increase.

    Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: "We are placing a huge importance on prevention. By getting that stage right we can avoid further restrictions on our lives."

  3. University place 'waiting game'

    Gwyn Griffiths
    Image caption: Gwyn Griffiths wants to study civil engineering

    "It's just a waiting game."

    That's how 18-year-old Gwyn Griffiths describes how he's feeling as he waits to find out if his re-graded A-level results will allow him into his first choice university.

    The Maesteg Comprehensive School pupil is "still hopeful" of winning a place to study civil engineering at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

    He was "distraught" on results days, when he got a B, C and two Us because he'd been predicted a B, two Cs and a D.

    "I was really shocked, because of the massive downgrade I'd had. It was awful to be honest with you, knowing this could affect my future and possibly the rest of my life."

    But after the elation of yesterdays' U-turn on grading, he's no clearer on whether he can go to UWE.

    "They themselves still don't know what will happen. They said as soon as they know they'll inform me but as far as I know, that could take hours, it could take days. it could take weeks."

    Gwyn has accepted a place at Swansea University but is still holding out hope of going to UWE.

    He said: "I'm just waiting for emails from universities, or my head of sixth form, to see where I stand. I keep updating websites too see if any news has come out."

  4. Delayed BTEC grades 'due by end of day'

    BTEC students who still have not received results which should have come last Thursday should get them by the end of the day, the exam regulatory body Qualification Wales has said.

    Speaking at the Senedd's education committee, the body's regulation director Jo Richards said: "So we understand that there has been a delay to the BTEC results and we’ve had notification of that from [exam board] Pearson.

    "We are working with them and are asking for regular updates. They are working through that data and we understand students should expect that by the end of today."

    Exam result bundles
    Image caption: Some students have missed out on university courses because of a delay to results
  5. Education minister 'apologises unreservedly' for A-levels process

    Education Minister Kirsty Williams says she apologises "unreservedly" to the young people of Wales for the way exam results have been handled.

    Speaking to MSs on the Senedd's Childen and Young People Committee, the minister said: "It has been, and continues to be, a stressful time for our young people. I am sorry that the results process has made that worse.

    "I apologise directly and unreservedly to our young people. I am truly sorry."

    Kirsty Williams MS
    Image caption: Kirsty Williams apologised at the virtual Senedd committee meeting
  6. Brexit Party politician quits Senedd group

    Caroline Jones MS
    Image caption: Caroline Jones joined the Senedd as a UKIP member in 2016

    The Brexit Party is down to three members in the Welsh Parliament after former UKIP Senedd leader Caroline Jones quit.

    The South Wales West politician said the party has a "anti-devolution" stance that was "against her principles".

    Senned leader Mark Reckless has vowed to campaign to scrap the Senedd, proposing a directly-elected first minister instead.

    The Brexit Party group wished her well. Ms Jones was one of seven UKIP assembly members elected in 2016.

  7. Grade inflation 'potential area of concern'

    Grade inflation for this year's students is a “potential area of concern” for the exam board and this could have an impact on next year's cohort, WJEC chief executive Ian Morgan says.

    Appearing before the Senedd’s education committee, Mr Morgan was asked by Labour MS Hefin David whether there could be “unintended consequences” of grade inflation, now that students will be awarded their predicted grades.

    Mr Morgan said there were “real issues and concerns” and it was an area the body would “need to look at”. It came after the Welsh government announced on Monday it would be allowing students to receive their teacher-assessed grades if they were unhappy with ones predicted by an algorithm.

    Mr Morgan said that using centre-assessed grades in their “current form”, could “transfer pressure back to schools and back to colleges in terms of teachers and how they now have to interact with learners".

    “We’ve got to maintain a qualification standard that says, if you've got a GCSE in English language, your GCSE in English language for this year is the same level as your GCSE in English language for next year.

    “How do we deal with that in an overarching process of saying there’s equivalence between one year and the next year? I think we've got collective challenges in that."

  8. 'Covid is here for the foreseeable future'

    Andrew RT Davies MS
    Image caption: Andrew RT Davies acknowledged society had to live with covid-19 for some time

    Covid-19 is here "for the foreseeable future" and so plans must be drawn up and implemented to deal with it and return "life here to as normal as possible", the Conservative's health spokesman has said.

    Andrew RT Davies was commenting following the earlier announcement by the Welsh health minister, Vaughan Gething, of the publication of plans to tackle the virus in the coming winter months.

    “To allow this, then a targeted approach – including, if necessary, local lockdowns – is the way forward," Mr Davies said.

    “Anything else, any further blanket lockdown, will again have a damaging effect on our economy, on our young people’s education, and – critically – on the health of our nation.

    "After all, we’re already facing the ticking time bomb of missed diagnoses or failures to start treatment for cancer and heart disease.

    “All efforts must be channelled now at avoiding another national lockdown, and planning for the winter pressures NHS Wales faces annually while dealing with the backlog, and securing an economic recovery from the first lockdown.”

  9. Figuring out the stats on coronavirus in Wales

    Cardiff city centre

    Where are the hot spots in Wales and what is happening in care homes? Read the latest.

  10. 'I burst out crying'

    Maia Gould
    Image caption: Maia Gould was delighted about the U-turn

    Students have spoken of their "massive relief" after they were given the A-level results they were fighting for.

    The Welsh Government announced a U-turn on Monday and said those and GCSE results estimated by teachers would now be used, rather than those produced by an algorithm.

    There had been outrage after 42% of A-level grades in Wales were downgraded because of the system.

    For some students, the change means future plans are no longer in tatters.

    Universities said they were "working hard to place applicants on the course of their choice".

    Maia Gould, from Llangorse, near Brecon, almost lost her chance to study medicine.

    But after hearing about the U-turn, she said: "I burst out crying straight away. I don't think I've ever been so happy in my life."

    Read more here.

  11. Increase in A-level grades 'would be examined in a normal year'

    WJEC exam board chief Ian Morgan's defence of the now abandoned algorithm system to predict A-level grades has rested on the increased number of students getting better results under teacher-assessed grades.

    This includes 15.4% of pupils getting A* grades, an increase of 6.3% on 2019.

    Mr Morgan told the Senedd's education committee: "In any normal year if there was an increase in outcomes of this magnitude I would be invited back to the committee to explain how that had happened.

    "You would want to know what happened in the examination system that would allow an increase of that kind."

  12. More universities to honour pupils' offers

    University of South Wales

    More good news for pupils who feared they might have missed out on university places after initially receiving A-level grades lower than those predicted by their teachers.

    Aberystwyth University and the University of South Wales have joined other Welsh higher education institutions in saying they will honour places offered to pupils who have now got the necessary grades following the decision to scrap grades awarded by an algorithm.

    Some students missed out on their places last week when the results were first published.

  13. North continues to lead Wales' deaths with coronavirus

    The Betsi Cadwaladr health board region in north Wales continues to see the most deaths in Wales, with no further deaths announced on Tuesday.

    Its running total of 415 includes two on Sunday, which accounts for 23 out of 24 Covid-19 deaths in the last two weeks.

    The total number of lab-confirmed deaths of people with coronavirus in Wales stands at 1,589.

    Map of covid deaths in Wales
  14. Deaths with coronavirus continue to fall

    There were no further deaths with coronavirus in Wales to announce on Tuesday, Public Health Wales said, leaving the total at 1,589.

    The seven-day average number of Covid-19 deaths in Wales continues to follow a downward curve following a slight rise earlier in the month.

    Graph
  15. Exam board chief defends abandoned algorithm

    The chief executive of the Welsh examinations board WJEC has defended the method used to set this year's A-level results that was abandoned by Welsh ministers on Monday.

    Ian Morgan said that system would have meant grades A* to E would have been up by 1% from last year and A* to A would have risen by 2.9%.

    A* would have been up 0.1% on 2019, with 1.7% of candidates reaching that level.

    Appearing before the Senedd's Children, Young People and Education Committee on Tuesday, he said the decision to use teachers' estimates instead meant 99.9% of candidates achieving grades A* to E.

    There was now a 13.4% increase in candidates getting A* to A, meaning 40.4% reaching that standard.

    The A* grade had been awarded to 15.4% of pupils, an increase of 6.3% on 2019 outcomes, Mr Morgan said.

    The committee was recalled during the Welsh Parliament''s summer break to scrutinise the handling of the examinations crisis.

  16. BreakingNo further deaths with coronavirus in Wales

    Test tube

    There have been no further deaths with coronavirus in Wales, the latest Public Health Wales figures have shown.

    It leaves the total number at 1,589.

    Twenty-four new cases were recorded, bringing Wales' count to 17,599.

  17. More volunteers needed for vaccine studies

    Vaccine

    More than 100,000 people have signed up to take part in future NHS trials of a coronavirus vaccine - but more volunteers are needed, researchers say.

    They want as many people as possible to enrol, to speed up their efforts to find a safe and effective jab.

    And they are particularly looking for more volunteers from the "high-priority groups" disproportionately affected by the virus - those belonging to ethnic minorities or aged over 65.

    Volunteers can register online.

  18. Marks & Spencer to cut 7,000 jobs

    M&S shop

    Marks & Spencer is cutting 7,000 jobs over the next three months across its stores and management.

    It said the coronavirus pandemic had made it clear there had been a "material shift in trade".

    In-store sales of clothing and home goods were "well below" 2019, although online and home deliveries were strong.

    M&S said it hoped a "significant proportion" of the cuts - about a tenth of its workforce - will be voluntary redundancy and early retirement.

    Read more here.

  19. Education committee meets after exams row

    Student in mask

    A meeting of the Senedd's education committee has begun, after it was recalled to discuss the row over exam results.

    There had been outrage after 42% of A-level grades in Wales were downgraded because of the system.

    But results estimated by teachers will now be used rather than those produced by an algorithm.

    Lynne Neagle, chair of the committee, said: “Given the significant concerns and complexities surrounding the awarding of exam results this year we will be meeting urgently to seek clarity for those who’ve been through this challenging process in unprecedented times.

    “Young people’s well-being, and their ability to plan for their future learning and careers, will be at the centre of our work looking at these issues.

    “We recognise that these matters are complex and will need detailed, longer term consideration. However, we believe that there is an important role for us to play now, to ask questions which will ensure that a fair and clear approach is adopted and communicated to the Welsh people as quickly as possible.”

    It has invited the WJEC, Qualifications Wales and the Welsh Government to provide information on the latest developments and answer questions.

    The proceedings are being shown live on the Welsh Parliament website senedd.tv.

  20. Depression doubles during coronavirus pandemic

    Woman in mask

    Twice as many adults in Britain are reporting symptoms of depression now compared with this time last year, Office for National Statistics figures suggest.

    One in five people appeared to have depressive symptoms compared with one in ten before the pandemic.

    The conclusions are based on a survey of more than 3,500 adults followed up over a 12-month period.

    They were asked the standard set of questions used to assess depression.

    Read more here.