Fears have been raised that Swindon’s lag behind the national average in GCSE and A-level results could affect the grades awarded to pupils this year.

The borough council’s deputy leader and cabinet member responsible for education Russell Holland was quizzed by the authority’s scrutiny committee on the town’s educational attainments.

His report showed there was continuing improvement in GCSE and A-level passes, but the town was still behind the England average.

That worried one of the councillors Tim Swinyard, after it was decided that the previous record of schools could be used to downgrade pupils grades this year.

He said: “How much concern is there that the past performance of schools will be used as it was in Scotland. Will that affect the grades for some children in Swindon?”

Sally Burnett , the head of skills and lifelong learning, said: “We're in weekly contact with the Department for Education.

“As results come out we will get more information but there’s nothing specifically on that now.”

Coun Holland's report to the committee said in 2019 Swindon moved to 91st nationally for strong passes in maths GCSE compared to 129 in 2017, and it improved to 102nd for strong English passes, compared with 116th in 2017, but in both categories the borough is still behind the England average.

This week the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon apologised and said the Scottish government 'did not get it right' when it downgraded 125,000 results from grades estimated by teachers.

The same system will be used for results in England with A-level results coming out tomorrow and GCSE results on August 20.

The Universities Minister and Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan is urging universities to keep open places offered to pupils who appeal against results if they fall short of what they need.

Councillors were told the next focus for education is making sure schools reopen fully for the autumn term in September.

Ms Burnett said Ofsted inspectors would be visiting schools in the next term, but not conducting their usual inspections: "The focus in the next term will be to see how schools have responded to the requirement that all schools will be back, and what they need to respond better.

“The usual inspections and reports will start again in January.”