A-level results 2020: Stamford Endowed Schools
Serious questions must be asked about the way A-level grades have been awarded this year, the principal of Stamford Endowed Schools has said.
Will Phelan said pupils' fates had been taken out of their hands as they receive their results this morning (Thursday, August 13).
None sat exams this summer due to the pandemic meaning they have been graded based on predicted grades, mock exam results or an optional written test this autumn. They will also have the right to appeal.
At Stamford Endowed Schools, 10 per cent achieved an A* with 61 per cent graded A*-B and 83 per cent A*-C.
Georgina Kilby who secured a place at her dream drama school, the Institute for Contemporary Theatre, was pleasantly surprised at her results.
"I cried because I was really overwhelmed and wasn't expecting to get what I got," said Georgina.
She has advised pupils in younger years to put in the hard work during mocks and to enjoy school life to the fullest.
"I was really happy at the start because who wouldn't be that exams were cancelled but I became concerned as two years of work went to nothing," Georgina said.
"I think quite a few people didn't revise as much for mocks as we didn't know they would be cancelled. I revised but I probably could've revised more."
She added that it was a difficult adjustment from being at school each day to no longer seeing her friends or having to revise.
More than a third of A-level entries in England were lowered by one full grade as part of a moderation process due to cancelled exams.
Lloyd Durno, pupil at Stamford Endowed Schools, had mixed feelings when receiving his results this morning.
He said: "It was positive on the whole but it wasn't with my results even though I got my university place.
"My results have been downgraded which is a bit of a shame.
"It's annoying as I wanted to prove to myself that I am good enough."
Lloyd secured an unconditional place at Leeds Beckett University to study sports business management meaning he is able to attend his first choice regardless of his grades.
"It's hard to keep the fire at the beginning when you know you have got an unconditional," he said.
"I would've loved to sit the exams just to prove to myself I could do it and try get as good grades as possible.
"It's quite disappointing because all the hard work has gone to waste. It feels like it all relies on teachers and the government."
Alice Lucy, who has secured a place to study geography at Loughborough University, said that she believed the grading system 'worked very well'.
She said: "I think the ranking was good but I don't like the fact we were ranked against other years. I did get downgraded.
"I was ill during my mocks so I was worried that was I going to mess up."
Mr Phelan said: “Exams often bring worry and uncertainty for students, but this year the ability to influence their own fate has largely been taken out of their hands.
“The fact that they have achieved such strong grades – including some remarkable individual successes – is an indicator of just how hard they worked, and the effort that they have put in, throughout their A-level studies. These results, therefore, are not just a reflection of hard work, but of their maturity, in knuckling down to study right through their courses.”
New figures show 36 per cent of entries were downgraded by one grade compared with teacher predictions. Around three per cent were downgraded by two grades, while two per cent saw final grades increase over predictions.
Mr Phelan said: “There are serious questions to ask of the process that has been used to award grades this year. 50 of our results – nine per cent of entries - were awarded a grade that was lower than the grade achieved at mocks.
“It is very rare for any student to perform better in mocks than in the actual exam, so this is an indication that the grading system has not worked as it should have done, and we will be wholeheartedly supporting these students with their appeals.”
On a positive note, he said the marks for both the Extended Project Qualification were excellent, passed at 77 per cent A*-B, and BTECs, which were passed at 100 per cent A*-B equivalent.
Mr Phelan said: “These qualifications both focus on independent learning, which we instil in our students from the very beginning of their time with us. It is notable that both qualifications were assessed as usual this year, so these results give a reliable indication of success.
“A-levels have their place, but they do not suit everyone. Qualifications like the BTEC and the EPQ are rightly valued by employers and universities. At Stamford, we teach to the child, not to the test, and the strength of our results in these qualifications shows the positive impact of our flexible approach.”
He added: “All of our students deserve congratulations for their hard work throughout their years in sixth form, but even more for their outstanding attitude and contribution to life at Stamford.
“A-levels are the means, and not the end, and our students are well set to take their next steps in life, whether at university, apprenticeships, exciting gap years, or starting out in their careers. We wish all of our Stamfordians the very best.”
To find out results from other schools in the area, click here