GCSE and A-level students in York, North and East Yorkshire are waking up to the news this morning that they will be able to use grades in mock exams to progress to university and college courses and employment.

As students across the country prepare to get A-level results tomorrow and GCSE results next Thursday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has now said results in mock tests – which were held before schools were forced to close amid the Covid-19 crisis – will carry the same weight as the calculated results.

The move, described by one union leader as “panicked and chaotic,” comes after unions called on the UK Government to follow Scotland’s lead in scrapping moderated grades as the downgrading of more than 124,000 results was reversed.

It comes after this year’s summer exams were cancelled amid Covid-19. Teachers were told to submit the grades they thought each student would have received if they had sat the papers.

Exam boards have moderated these grades to ensure this year’s results – for students in England, Northern Ireland and Wales – are not significantly higher than previous years.

But now students in England awaiting their A-level and GCSE results can keep their grades in mock exams if they are higher than the calculated grade, with regulator Ofqual asked to determine how and when valid mock results can be used.

Students will have to go through the appeals process to use their mock exam result, with their school required to submit evidence to the exam board.

And they will still be able to sit exams in the autumn if they are unhappy with the grades they secured in mock exams, or if they are dissatisfied with results awarded by exam boards on Thursday.

All three grades will hold the same value with universities, colleges and employers, the Department for Education (DfE) said.