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Frustrated schools prepare to appeal controversial A-level results

PUBLISHED: 17:32 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:39 13 August 2020

Imogen Senior, headteacher of St Benedict's Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds. She said it had been an

Imogen Senior, headteacher of St Benedict's Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds. She said it had been an "incredibly difficult year for all students" Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MARIAM GHAEMI

A-level results day has been shrouded in controversy this year, after summer exams were cancelled due to Covid-19.

Paige Chapman and Joshua Henson-Mendez receiving their results at Stowmarket High School Picture: DAVE LEE-ALLANPaige Chapman and Joshua Henson-Mendez receiving their results at Stowmarket High School Picture: DAVE LEE-ALLAN

Despite overall results showing a record high for A* and A grades, many have voiced concerns over the method used to decide the results.

Teachers were asked to submit predicted grades for all students, who were due to take exams this summer.

However, they have since been moderated by Ofqual - the government’s exam regulator - meaning that 36% of entries received a lower grade than predicted.

Ofqual statistics also show that private school pupils benefited more than comprehensive students due to the moderation method.

Stowmarket High School student Lorna Brown with her results Picture: DAVE LEE-ALLANStowmarket High School student Lorna Brown with her results Picture: DAVE LEE-ALLAN

A number of schools, including St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds, are preparing to appeal results for students who feel aggrieved with their marks.

Headteacher Imogen Senior said that for most students, the qualifications awarded were in line with their own assessments.

MORE: Live A-level updates from West Suffolk

However, she said they were “disappointed” that, in some subjects, some students had been awarded a lower grade than the teacher assessments and mock exams.

She said: “This has been an incredibly difficult year for all students and we are so proud of our Year 13 and the hard work that has led them to this point.

“We recognise the challenges presented by the pandemic on the awarding bodies, however we will support individuals whose grades have been lowered by a statistical modelling of results where we feel this has deprived them of the opportunity to prove themselves.”

MORE: Live A-level updates from East Suffolk schools and colleges

Copleston High School, in Ipswich, also said it would be aiming to secure the best results for students by appealing a number of results.

Andy Green, principal, said: “My thoughts go out to the students and parents and I wish them the best in their futures, we will be doing absolutely everything we can to secure the best results for all students through appeals processes.”

The government defended its stance on A-level grading, with education secretary Gavin Williamson ruling out a u-turn on exam results.

MORE: Live A-level updates from schools in Ipswich and Felixstowe

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Writing in a national newspaper, he argued that changing their approach would see students lose out and “devalue the results for the class of 2020”.

Many schools across the region did not reveal their results, as they are seen as “interim” grades due to the likelihood that they will change.

MORE: Union boss hits out at ‘bewildering’ decision on mock A-level grades

Ian MacNaughton, principal at Colchester Sixth Form College, said: “It would have been far better if these government decisions and announcements had been made and put in place in the spring or early summer, rather than announcing that substantial changes are to be made, effectively creating another dimension to the system, two days after the government had already released some results to the universities.

“It is not fair that the students and parents will need to wait weeks and months before final results become available.”

MORE: Live A-level updates from Essex

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said on Twitter: “Thinking of all Ipswich A-level students today who are receiving their results.

“Culmination of many years hard work. Very challenging circumstances. I hope you all get the results you need for the next stage.”


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