Schools should make results day as normal as possible, says head

The headmistress of an independent day school has said it is important for schools to celebrate the success of young people’s hard work and commitment next month

The head of an independent day school for girls has said schools should make this year’s GCSE and A-level results days, which will take place next month, as normal as possible for pupils.

Alex Hutchinson, headmistress of James Allen’s Girls’ School and chair of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) education committee, spoke on the GSA’s podcast about what this year’s results days will look like.

She said: “Students will receive their results on the morning of results day as usual. Yes, it will feel a little bit different because schools will be releasing grades that they already know, but what’s really important is that nationally, locally, within our own schools, we are still celebrating the success of those young people because it’s the result of their hard work, their endeavour, their commitment that we are awarding the grades this year, so I’m very keen that it feels as normal as it possibly can this year.”

Hutchinson said we should expect grade inflation this year, but she hopes people will understand why this is.

“Assessments have been different and it’s hard for us to compare a normal year with the different processes we’ve put in place this year,” she explained.

“What I hope is that the narrative around results will be absolutely understanding of that. The grades – if higher than a normal year – make sense in the context of the year we have had, and schools have assessed students as fairly and as thoroughly as possible.

“There will still be some disappointments this summer, but I think what we’ll find is far fewer students who had a ‘bad day’.”

The grades – if higher than a normal year – make sense in the context of the year we have had, and schools have assessed students as fairly and as thoroughly as possible – Alex Hutchinson, James Allen’s Girls’ School 

Yesterday, the government set out proposals for exams in summer 2022, but the full details will not be confirmed until the coming autumn term.

The Department for Education and Ofqual are currently seeking views from students, parents and teachers on proposed arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A-levels, along with vocational and technical qualifications in 2022.

The consultation proposes a range of measures to help mitigate the impact of disruption to students’ education from Covid-19, including providing advance information on the focus of exam content to help students focus their revision.

Hutchinson said the return of exams in 2022 is “much-needed” after the disruption from the pandemic. She said she hoped a Plan B was not needed, but that she imagines it will be similar to TAGs this year.

Hutchinson called for the outcomes of the consultation to be shared with schools as soon as possible so they can start planning.

“We really do need that clarification and we do hope that we get some sense of normality and an exam season this year because I think we all need it,” she added.

In other news: Cardiff Sixth Form College announces plans for second campus

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