A-level results: mixed emotions at independent schools

Whilst some schools have surpassed previous performance, others have had their lowest A-level results in years

Whilst the controversy continues over the way this year’s A-level results have been worked out and managed, there has been both disappointment and celebrations in the independent sector.

At Eastbourne College (pictured above), A-level results were up for the third year in a row; 43% of grades awarded were A* or A and the overall proportion of A*, A or B grades was 72%.

“Pupils should be proud of their achievements and hard work on the A-level course and, despite not having the chance to sit the exam, these great grades should stand as testament to the academic progress and ambition of Eastbourne College’s pupils,” said headmaster Tom Lawson.

At Heathfield School, 70% of grades were awarded at A* to B, of which over 30% were A*/A, and nearly 95% A* to C – surpassing their performance last year.

Headmistress Marina Gardiner Legge said: “Today is the culmination of the girls’ efforts throughout their school careers as well as the support from dedicated and committed staff, and rightly deserves celebration and recognition for all they have achieved.”

She said the girls have shown “tenacity and resilience” and that it’s even more important that the girls have “blossomed into kind, passionate, well-rounded and confident young women”. She also thanked staff, parents and governors for their “hard work and dedication”.

DLD College London reported an 8% increase on the previous year, with 34% of all A-level results at A*-A grade, 62% at A*-B grade and 85% at A*-C.

A-level results
The Penney family on A-level results day at Solihull School


Some independent schools have expressed their disappointment with this year’s exam system.

Solihull School said 16% of all its grades were at A*, 44% at A*-A and 76% at A*-B grade. However, headmaster David EJJ Lloyd, said: “It is with great sadness that I must also express our considerable disappointment at how grades have been decided upon by the various examination boards this year.

“Results for the school this year are the lowest they have been for several consecutive years and a large number of pupils and subjects have been downgraded from our recommendations, some pupils by more than one grade in certain subjects.

“We have started the process of pursuing the matter and we will continue to do so over the days and weeks ahead.

“Recent media reports suggesting that mock examination grades may be used to redress downgraded outcomes are simply not good enough and very misguided. Mock exams are taken at different times of the year by individual schools, often with resit opportunities, and many pupils improve in the time period between the mocks and the real thing, some significantly so.”

Similarly, the heads of The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and The Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls have been left disappointed with the outcome. Gus Lock and Rose Hardy said: “Results this year do not appropriately reflect the hard work of many pupils. Despite assurances from Ofqual, in too many cases there seems to be no clear relationship between the historical data and the grades awarded.”

They have sent a letter to secretary of state for education Gavin Williamson.

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